Happiness Business (Happiness, True success)

We had just practiced her soccer skills, and now it was time to head to the community pool where my parents live. We were on a quest to check off ‘Mastering Freestyle’ from her summer list of goals. She had prepared by watching another YouTube video on proper breathing technique. As we sauntered outside, I suddenly realized my time window was bit tight.

Me – “I only have about 30 minutes for this because I need to get to a meeting.”

Her – “Can I come?”

Me – “Well, it’s sort of a creative, business meeting.”

Her – “Awww… I started my own business.”

Me – “You have? What is your business about?”

Her – “Happiness.”

Me – “That’s interesting. You have a Happiness business?”

She sort of muttered back in a way as if to say that her thoughts probably didn’t make sense. I thought they did and pressed on for details.

Me – “So, your business offers Happiness?”

She nodded yes.

Me – “And how does your business profit from offering Happiness? You get Happiness?”

It was a leading question, but I figured it was okay as I knew where her thinking was going.

Her – “Yep. If you give Happiness then Happiness comes back to you.”

Me – “You know, I think everyone is in the Happiness business but we just forget it. I think your business is great and you should run it and grow it all of your life.”

She nodded in agreement and skipped off to open the screen door to the pool. I trailed behind contemplating the profundity of what she had so casually stated. For her, it wasn’t some wise utterance. It was just, well, how life is. Of course the business of life is Happiness.

They don’t teach you about this in school. It probably should have been lesson number one. That way we wouldn’t forget it as we get older.

The wisdom of a child.

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We’re In It Together (Family, Helping, Humor)

This morning, I insisted that my daughter help with Hurricane Irma house clean up as I believe that, in a family, everyone pitches in. Nobody is sitting in the A/C on a tablet. She helped a good bit then disappeared. When my Mom arrived at our house she was laughing about a message my girl had sent her. When I heard what it was, I laughed and told her she gets credit for creative writing but then insisted she do some more house cleaning.

Snuggle Addiction (Bonding, Quality Time)

It’s safe to say that my daughter has a nightly Daddy snuggle addiction. Ending her day being snuggled by me is like breathing.

I understand as my Mom did the same with me growing up. I would whistle until she showed up in my room. Guess it’s in the genes.

Most days, I love snuggling her, especially as she is getting older and I know these days will pass. It’s my time to give her tickles, whisper sweet, affirming things, receive her little kisses, review highlights of her day, help her to express appreciation, and to see her marinating in contentment as she drifts off into the night. It’s sacred child and parent bonding time.

Admittedly, there are some days where I’m not keen on it. It’s usually after I’ve invested much of my day with her. By the time I have her to bed, I’m itching to get to my creative projects. But, still, her longing for snuggles nearly always wins out.

The other day, I asked her about it –

Me – “Why do you love snuggles so much?”

Her – “I don’t know.”

Me – “Well, what does it mean to you?”

Her – “Feeling comforted…”

Me – “What else?”

Her – “Feeling special.”

Me – “What else?”

Her – “Feeling loved.”

I really couldn’t think of anything to add to her statement or to inquire more about. She had summed it up and, in the process, reminded me why I do it. After all, what greater impact can I have on her than to impress upon her those feelings deep into her heart and mind – that she is secure, important and treasured.

By my calculations, if I go with a conservative 10 minute average nightly snuggle time multiplied by 300 days a year multiplied by 9.5 years, I’ve snuggled her 28,500 minutes or about 20 total days of her life invested in snuggles. And, that doesn’t count the countless times I fell asleep by her side from exhaustion.

Life passes us by in little chunks of time invested and wasted. A life well lived is one where at least 80% of our time is invested in what is most important to us.

Her words and her happy spirit tell me it’s been a wonderful investment. So, onward with the Daddy snuggle addiction until she naturally grows out of it…

Just Testing (Independent thinking, Safety, Personal Power)

It’s been raining incessantly for days, making it a wonderland of puddles in our yard.

Her – “Daddy, can we go jump in puddles?”

Me – “Um…”

I had just settled in to work on a creative project. But she’s only going to be nine once…

Me – “Okay.”

Once outside, we could hear the waves crashing just beyond where we live. Minutes later, we were at the nearby beach. Only thing is, nobody was in the water.

Her – “Maybe it’s not safe. Nobody is swimming.”

I’m not a big fan of this beach to begin with for kids as it has a sharp drop-off. With the waves crashing, it might be hard for her to find her footing after being knocked over.

Still, I walked towards the shore.

Her – “Daddy, I’m not going in.”

I was happy with her decision; that she had assessed the situation and deemed it a senseless risk. It occurred to me, though, that it was a good opportunity to test her.

Me – “I’m going in!”

I took my shirt off and edged closer.

Me – “You coming? Come on!”

She stood firmly.

I turned back toward her and gave her a high five.

Me – “Good for you. I wanted to see if you would stick with your decision.”

As I walked past her, I saw a smile of pride flash across her face.

Me – “Don’t let anybody talk you into something that, in your gut, you don’t think is safe for you. If you can say no to your Dad, then you can say no to anyone, right?”

Her – “Yes.”

With that, we headed home, had breakfast and then went to the other beach with a very gradual decline. A friend of hers joined us, and we had a blast.

Good Together (Spirituality, Love, Bond)

Me – “Why do you think God gave you to me?”

Her – “I don’t know. Because He just thought we would be good together.”

Me – “She was right.”

Her – “He or She.”

Pause

Her – “People think God is a person, and God is not a person.”

Me – “Yeah, some people give God human qualities and imagine God to be separate from themselves.”

Her – “God is Life.”

Me – “Exactly. I like to think of God as the ocean and each of us as waves. We’re part of the ocean. We are a part of God.”

I don’t remember what came after that, but it was a nice conversation to end our day as we stared at the stars on her bedroom ceiling.