A very long time ago, when my babies were still in diapers, I remember reading something that stuck with me all these years. I can’t remember the book, or the author, but the idea was this: a child who sings is a happy child. And so whenever I would overhear my kids singing to themselves, I would breath a sigh of relief. I might be making mistakes on a daily basis. Maybe I lost my temper, or urged them to hurry up, or allowed life to get in the way of the little moments, but I would feel at peace and know that my children were happy and felt loved.
They are older now and they’ve lost those sweet, toddler, sing-song voices. They don’t sing “The Wheels on the Bus” to themselves anymore, preferring One Direction and Justin Timberlake. But I think I’ve found a new way to secretly gauge their happiness: watching them with their friends.
I don’t know how it happens, but it feels like I woke up one day and my kids had entire social lives of their own. Elena told me yesterday that she needs a planner, because “my weekends are just getting so filled up with things to do with my friends.” The need they have for me to be their playmate is disappearing. There are some afternoons when I wander around the house and feel a bit lost. This used to be the witching hour, when they hung from my limbs and I struggled to find ways to keep them busy so I could cook dinner. Now I have to search for them to come to dinner.
As an adult, my friends are some of the most precious relationships I have. They bring me so much joy and happiness. My friendships are really just grownup versions of this, the original LOL:
If smiles and giggles with your own people are any indicator of happiness, I think the kids are alright.