The Gift of Happiness

A long time ago I read a book about optimism.  I think it was when my daughter was eight months old.  I can’t remember exactly when but, one thing I know for sure, I WAS SLEEP DEPRIVED.  This book was about a study conducted about optimism and ultimately, happiness.  It was really interesting!  It broke down the theory, that you could pick different people from different walks of life, different ethnicities, different circumstances, different everything, and predict which people would report the highest degree of fulfillment and happiness.  Even if they came from horrible backgrounds or circumstances.  That didn’t seem to matter.  The one thing that these people all had in common was a core sense of optimism.  They viewed their circumstances through optimistic eyes.  Yes, even the bad circumstances.  They somehow knew that everything would turn out all right.

Of course I read this book while I was sleep training my precious little baby girl, because in my bleary eyed, sleep deprived desperation, I needed something to hold on to.  In those desperate hours of trying to get my kid to sleep I would read this book about optimism.  Just so you understand, the way we sleep trained her was by putting her down to sleep in her crib, giving her a kiss goodnight, then I would stand at the edge of her crib and pay her no attention and focus on reading my book.  So she understood that I was there, she was safe, but she had to fall asleep on her own.  She HAD to think Mama was busy, I was just there for moral support if she needed me.  (Of course if she fussed a little bit I would soothe her,, I wouldn’t just ignore her completely!  I’m not made of stone!)  But mostly, I ignored her.  When she would fall asleep I would leave the room.  The next time I put her down to sleep I would step a few inches further away from the crib, look down at this book and wait till she fell asleep.  I continued this process and stepped further and further away from the crib towards the door till my little girl learned to fall asleep in her crib on her own without me having to rock her.  Those few minutes were my only quality reading time.  But I digress!  This blog isn’t about sleep training, it’s about optimism!

That’s when I got the idea that no matter what the circumstances, the best gift I could give my daughter,, the gift that would pay off for the rest of her life, would be the gift of optimism/happiness.  That’s when I invented my morning routine.

Every morning, when I would wake up Luna Marie, of course after the mandatory few minutes of “cuddle time” and kisses and just plain being cozy in the bed, I would get up and open her blackout curtains (’cause you gotta HAVE blackout curtains to keep that kid asleep!) and I would say “Hello, Sun!” in my happy voice.  Then I would look back at Luna Marie and I would exclaim, “Oh my gosh, Luna Marie, it’s a beautiful day!”  She would exclaim “Really, Mama?!”  and she would be happy right from the beginning of the day.  I would do this routine every single morning, whether it was a cloudy day, a cold day or a sunny day.  So that way she learned that no matter what the circumstances, every day that she was alive was a beautiful day!  Sometimes on cloudy days she would come up to the window and say “But, Mama, I do not see the sun.”  I would reassure her, “Oh, the sun is there, it’s just hiding behind those beautiful grey clouds” (C’mon! Why can’t clouds be beautiful too?) and that would make her so happy to learn that A) clouds are beautiful too, and B) the sun was still there, she just couldn’t see it.  Then we would go downstairs and carry on with our morning routine.

My hope is that having this optimistic point of view about the beauty of waking up every day and all the wonderful things that she can make happen, will carry on through her life.  But ultimately, I think what my daughter is reminding me, is that every day that I wake up, is a beautiful day.  I just have to choose to see it that way.  And if you don’t believe me, I have the book to prove it!  I just have to find it.  I know it’s there, somewhere buried in all the rubble of our toys, dirty dishes, Christmas decorations and tons and tons of torn up wrapping paper!

I hope you have a happy day and spectacular New Year!

CM

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5 Responses to

  1. Adriana says:

    Happy New Year! Glad I found your blog. Didn’t know you had one. Just saw Switched at Birth last night. I love your work. Wait until your girl wants to go to college out of state. I am going through this with my daughter. She chose and was accepted to a college in California and I am worried like crazy. She will have student loans and I don’t want her to have any debt. I tell her stay home, I’ll pay for your college here and I’ll buy you a car. But, she has her own dreams and I feel her dreams can be met here at home. Sigh. Sorry, I had to vent. But, as you already know, each stage in our children’s lives is a challenge, now you know mine. Keep up the good work as a mother and an actress, etc.

  2. Jenny E. says:

    That is an amazing gift to give to your daughter. I believe she will carry that optimism/happiness throughout here life which will end up touching so many other people. We need more people to view life this way. I would love to know the name of the book when you get the chance, Constance. Hopefully your post will inspire others to do the same in their life and for their children. Happy New Year!

  3. isa says:

    Hello!!! May I ask what book was it that you read about optimism/happiness? I would love to read it. Thank you in advance.

  4. isa says:

    May I ask what book you read about optimism/happiness? Thank you in advance.

  5. Crystal Gonzalez says:

    Your blogs are amazing and i would like to know what was the name of the book you read?