Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Two sides of the same coin

This is part of Momalom's Five-for-Ten series, where a group of bloggers write about the same five topics in 10 days. This post responds to the second topic, Happiness.

Yes, those are the faces of my happiness. This happiness, my good fortune, is akin to having gold coins in my hands. While I’m truly grateful, I’m also acutely aware that these coins have two faces and they're not always perfect. The one side may glitter, but the other may be a little dull from wear. It's the flip side to the euphoria and razzle dazzle in my life, where the mundane, the unromantic, the annoying and the inconvenient reside.

Being part Chinese, I guess it's in my blood to believe in the balance between light and dark, that even in happiness there are two facets. I have an affinity for lists, so here’s one of the yin to my yang:

1) In the car, Black Eyed Peas came on the radio and I whooped - it's my song! - and My Guy promptly turned it off, obviously not a fan. At my protest, he reminded me that I insisted we changed stations too every time Red Hot Chili Peppers came on. Quid pro quo. He was right, but that didn't mean I couldn't sulk as we looked for a more agreeable station.

2) Little Miss came down with croup - on Mother’s Day weekend nonetheless - so instead of a fun two days at the museum, park and beach, we were quarantined at home. She was in great spirits and with no fever, she was active so she really could've gone to those places with us; it’s just the good citizens in us that prevented her from doing so, for fear of infecting others. I have to say doing the right thing sucked. I bet no one even noticed that we did them this favor.

3) My cats and dog have awakened the baby more times than I can count but they’re very much a part of our family so instead of strangling them (which I often feel inclined to), I clean dog puke and cat hairballs. Willingly. In return, I get to pet them, hoping that the research about the connection between pet ownership and longevity is true because on some days I just don’t see any other advantages in a house covered in cat fur, including my dinner.

4) Pre-baby, My Guy and I loved geeking out at a midnight movie on opening night. We were there for Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Batman because we enjoyed being in the company of fellow nerdizens. Can you think of any normal folk who would willingly drag themselves to work the next day after mere two hours of sleep just for a movie? With a toddler, our last midnight jaunt was to catch Star Trek a year ago, during our weekend getaway to Toronto sans baby. With the new Iron Man 2, we jealously read the Facebook updates of our friends who made it to the midnight show and fervently hoped to make a matinee ourselves. If we’re lucky.

5) And oh my god the never ending pile of dishes and laundry! How do three people, one of whom is a tiny, tiny being the fraction of our size generate SO MUCH housework? Of course with baby comes toys! Every. Where. For every two pieces of toy I put away, I find five tucked away inside different shoes and under the cats. It's like someone fed my house after midnight and it's now breeding toys! (10 geek points for anyone who got this reference).

Five to a list seems pretty inadequate, but I’m sure you get my point. The above are the unsung moments of happiness just because, well, they’re not that great really. But while the flip side to those are better, they don’t necessarily make bold statements either. There isn't always a string of pearls and an Acapulco getaway waiting on the other side because it's not often about the grandiose gestures. On the flip side of our movie conundrum, we just accept that midnight shows are not in the cards for us now, but on a particularly warm Friday night, we snuggle on our back porch, arms and legs crisscrossed, and watch a movie on our laptop as we sip on some wine by candlelight - our makeshift dinner and a movie night right at our own (back) door. And as for our foiled Mother’s Day plans, Little Miss, in her sleep that night uttered “mama, mama” ever so sweetly, as if calling to me in a dream, and that alone was enough to turn the day around for me.

Happiness can be the warm fuzzies, and it can also be a pain in the neck. The sacrifices we make to get to this point also deserve a mention because after all, while they’re no starring role in this big Happiness picture, their supporting one is crucial in our appreciation for it. Yes, that side of the coin isn’t always shiny but we endure it because of what’s on the other side. Because of the stuff in between the unromantic, the inconvenient and the annoying. Because of the bright, earnest eyes that look back at us with love, love, love. Because when we look back at them, we may be drowning in a mountain of laundry, spilled juice, foiled travel plans and movie nights, but all we see is the glimmer on the side of the coin that says we're happy, happy, happy.

Even if sometimes it feels like all we ever do is pick up toys, toys, toys.

(What's on your sides of the coin?)

Find other perspectives on this topic through Momalom.