Happiness is…

My Most Memorable Moments of 2011… not in any particular order

For most of life, nothing wonderful happens. If you don’t enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with family or friends, then the chances are that you’re not going to be very happy. If someone bases his happiness or unhappiness on major events like a great new job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn’t going to be happy much of the time. If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.
– Andy Rooney
I remember one morning getting up at dawn, there was such a sense of possibility. You know, that feeling? And I remember thinking to myself: So, this is the beginning of happiness. This is where it starts. And of course there will always be more. It never occurred to me it wasn’t the beginning. It was happiness. It was the moment. Right then.
– Michael Cunningham, The Hours

standing in Westminster Abby amidst the ghosts of writers I’ve revered for a very long time in awe of their presence– walking the rooms in Bronte’s parsonage, reading each and every word available to us studying the artifacts that, once, they touched — I could not absorb enough from this day

the moment I realized Andrea wouldn’t be returning to work and all of its implications — standing beside her bed as she recited words from a play I assume which I’m not familiar w/, but the way she embodied the character in accent and inflection– being at her memorial service– listening to the words, the stories of love that wholly encompassed her– details that I often overlooked or simply didn’t know

pacing outside the glass, beside the net in our zone, a net which Tyler guarded, feeling extreme confidence in him and fear at the same time– the state championship (he’d waited so long to get to this place & the moment had arrived for him and the game was in the palm of his hands)

laying on the massage table, next to Alexa, her smile, her apprehension– then the reaction of utter relaxation & her desire to want to do it all over again

at 5 a.m., glued to the television, me and Alexa watching the next King of England betroth his soon-to-be princess, explaining to Alexa why I was teary-eyed, and being reminded of many years ago when I shared the wedding of Charles and Diana w/ my girlfriends

reacting to Ryan revealing his desire and passion to become a chef. While this path for him had come as a surprise to me, I replied, “Well get to work, find a school, follow your dream…”

hearing the sound of Ryan’s voice w/ each phone call home, excited about what he was learning & being a student, knowing he made the right choice because he was suddenly himself again

returning home from England, the gesture made by my friends which enveloped me w/ warmth because they made me feel missed — in addition to all of those other smiling, silly, sarcastic LOL Tinkerbell moments

waiting, as Tyler pulled up his S.A.T scores on the computer, him calling Ryan over to reaffirm them, then me. I looked and looked again in utter dismay at his brilliance. I swatted his head, called him a “dumb ass” for not performing in school to his potential, knowing he’d had that potential all along

the fear, the pit in my stomach when Marina said Olivia had not returned to her room the night before– all I could think was Natalie Hollaway all over again. The sense of relief I felt when I saw Olivia walking out of the elevator. And the moments in between seemed like an eternity. I hugged her tight before I yelled at her for putting herself in danger & giving us a fright.

Alexa, in the car ride to school, quality time, savoring the moments w/ her– in my room, when she looked at me and said “Look into my eyes… I’m mind-hugging you”

my husband steering his boat, his toy, his pride an joy– just me & him– out on the vast ocean, the sunshine, hot, radiating on our skin– headed somewhere and nowhere in particular

entertaining our friends w/ alcohol and appetizers on the TARRA Moe– a vessel filled w/ laughter against the setting sun

the warmth and belonging I felt as Dawn delivered her speech to Megumi in my living room– her TOY celebration– feeling so fortunate to be amidst such cherished friends and colleagues

the laughter that follows the Mojito/ Casino story — I’m Hot, Are you Hot?, It’s Hot

receiving my mother’s annual Christmas letter– laughing at its corniness, crying because it becomes suddenly apparent to me that the day will come when I long for that corniness

pure excitement at the anticipation of bringing Sadie home. I couldn’t wait to meet her, and when I did, I fell in love immediately w/ her sweetness, her love-ability, her gentleness…

on the beach of Cape Cod, with my whole family, flying kites and taking a family Warhol photograph w/ my new Ipad– I can hear the laughter and silliness as the cousins posed, serious and goofy

HAPPINESS IS… these seemingly insignificant (happy, funny, serious, fearful and sad) moments that thread themselves together and linger in our memories


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