Thursday, August 7, 2008

Happy Happy, Joy Joy

I've often heard people say ... "It was the happiest day of my life."

Well, I've got a confession. I can't say that about any particular day or event.

I can rather easily tell you when I was my angriest, saddest, proudest, or most scared. Matter of fact, for just about any emotion you come up with I can tell you the date, time, and place of my most extreme emotional output -- except for happiness. And I'm not sure why.

It's not that I'm not capable of happiness. Actually I am happy 99% of the time. I tend to be a glass-half-full kind of guy who doesn't let all the small gunk of life cloud my view.

If anything I'm guilty of being to sure that something good is just a stone's throw away. I'm quite the Polly Anna in that fashion.

I know a lot of parents will say that the births of their kids count as their ultimate moments of happiness, and I do cherish both of my boys, but confession time again. Their actual births were nerve racking affairs of futility for me. I hate to worry, but that is all I did those days.

Both boys were C-sections. The second planned, the first not. Being a life long hunter who processes his own meat, the blood and what not didn't bother me, but watching a doctor dig in my wife's innards isn't exactly a zen moment either. And then trying to check on her, tend to a squalling bundle of placenta covered joy, listening to her doctor's instruction, the boys pediatrician, the nurses, ... all while family and friends chimed in ...

Well it was stressful as hell for me. I count the days and weeks later when it was just my family at home, when the boys cooed softly or opened the eyes to stare up at them as I fed them, or the first time a soft baby fist reached up to brush my stubbled cheek. Those are all much happier times than the big event everyone else seems to describe as wondrous and miraculous and the happiest day of their lives.

Yeah I know as a dutiful husband I could say my happiest time was my wedding day. But I'd be lying. I love my wife and will forever consider myself lucky to have found a gorgeous and intelligent woman blind enough to overlook my many faults, but again the stress and pressure of that day keeps it from being my definitive moment of joy. The demands of trying to talk to every family member and friend I have, while decked out in fancy but uncomfortable duds, smiling for a thousand pictures many from an extremely irritable photographer, while waiting for everyone to go home so ... well I won't go into that.

Anyway I have so many fond memories with Jennifer that I couldn't possible designate one as my most happy time.

There was my big plan to propose at the top of a mountain, but halfway up she was out of breath and gasping from lack of oxygen, as was I, so that my visions of the sun reflecting off her diamond ring atop a majestic mountain peak, actually became a yes under the shadowy pine covered side of a mountain slope.

There are the thousands of whispered conversation we've had and still continue to have each night as we lay in bed and talk about our day.

There are the trips we've taken together, to New Orleans, Vegas, the mountains, to beaches. The many songs that remind me of her for a jillion different reasons. The memory that I ate spaghetti for supper every other day for the first month we were married. Not one of those memories overrides all the others.

Maybe my most happy moment is yet to come. Maybe I'm holding out for it. Maybe I'll never be able to define it. But I'm not complaining. If this is as good as it gets then I'm still pretty damn lucky, whether I have that one spotlight moment of happiness domination or not.

So how about all of you? Can you define your happiest day?

29 comments:

Clair Dickson said...

Nope. I can't nail one down, either. I'm not even going to worry about it.

As long as there are more happy days than unhappy ones, then life is good. Luckily, it's awful hard for me to put an entire day in the 'unhappy' category. When it starts to get really bad, it because amusing in it's horrificness, so that makes up for it. =)

Bina said...

That was some spetacular writing Travis. I loved this. So honest and heart felt.

My happiest moment. Honestly, I just don't remember. I couldn't even tell you my saddest, because there are so many, I couldn't pin-point just one.

My happiest week ever was the first time Chris and I ever went to Panama City Beach in 2005. I can't ever in my life remember being that blissfully happy for an entire week.

AA said...

I'll let you know... SOON. :)

Stephen Parrish said...

I've had thousands of happiest days, all tied for first place, all spent with my daughter.

Lexi said...

I can't name one either, but I tend to think that's because I've just had way too many happy moments to pick just one!

Charles Gramlich said...

I've had a lot of great days. But I couldn't just pick one, I think. And you're right, the really big days, weddings, births, etc, are too focused elsewhere and too stressful to be the "happiest" days. Laughing with Lana as we do pretty much every day, really ranks up there high, though.

Phats said...

See I think I am the opposite of you I have tons of "happiest" days of my life haha which I don't think it can work that way.

I think you need to buy stock in rolaids, seems like you have a lot of stressful events.

spyscribbler said...

I think I'm the same way, Travis. I can't think of a single day. At all.

Oh, wait. Holding my niece for the first time had to be WAY UP THERE. The most complete peace I've ever felt in my whole life.

Merry Monteleone said...

Travis,

This was beautiful, it really was.

And no, the births of my children were not my happiest days. I tend to hide emotion to begin with, it's not that I don't feel it, it's just that there are few people that I'm comfortable enough with to bother them with my emotional garbage... one of my more sentimental girlfriends asked me if I cried when my oldest was born... which I totally didn't get, I'm thinking, "What, like from paid?" And she rolled her eyes, "No, tears of happiness... didn't you cry?"

Umn, no, I kind of knew I was having a baby. No emotional surprise to elicit tears there - she'd been playing ping pong with my kidneys for quite a few months already... and it was a 27 hour labor, during which I wasn't allowed to eat... so what I remember is being tired, and cranky, and flippin' hungry, and worried all at the same time.

Now, ask me how it was the first time my dad held my oldest, or when he crowed to everyone he knew that my son was named after him - those things made me happy... happy, I think isn't wrapped up in big, life altering turns, but in little moments and interactions with the people you love.. and occasionally people you barely know.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Travis-Nope,me too. Big occasions make me the most nervous. The happiest time for me is an ordinary day when nothing goes wrong.

The SUV Bitch said...

Great post, T.

I can remember happiest TIMES, not necessarily the happiest moment.

I think when you are generally a positive person, it makes sense that the negative would stick out more. Being happy rules.

Shauna Roberts said...

Like pattinase, those rare days when nothing goes wrong stand out for me are among my happiest. So are the times my cats and husband and I have just hung out together contentedly, my husband watching TV, me reading, and the cats cuddling with us or each other or sleeping. Days without pain rank high as well.

holly said...

i am pretty happy most days. if i'm not feelin' really happy lately, i really just concentrate on finding something funny. i usually get what i'm looking for fairly quickly. and that has taught me that whatever i'm looking for, if i pursue it, i will get it.

i agree with you - those wedding/birthing days weren't all they were cracked up to be. i could have done without all the puking.

and that was just the wedding...

oh wow i need some sleep. here i come!

Joshua said...

i remember taking my then fiance so see my dieing grandfather in the hospital. She was able to meet him for the first and last time.

Joshua said...

oh, and yeah, the J Cash cover of Hurt is freaking awesome

Packsaddle said...

The happiest day for me was when I found this blog.

[wipes tear]

preTzel said...

Geez T - way to make a girl tear up and wish her husband was as emotional as you. *sigh* Better be careful big guy, you're gonna have bloggers lustin' after you. :D

My most happiest moment? Ever? When Middle slept for five hours straight the first time. Seriously. I can remember thinking that he might have died or something because he wasn't squalling after five minutes.

Lana Gramlich said...

I find it difficult to nail down exactly what "happy" is. After all, I've had brief moments of pure, unadulterated joy--sometimes for what seemed absolutely no reason whatsoever. I remember one particularly good day from my childhood, but kids' emotions are wild, rampant things & I can't trust that I was actually at my happiest then. And although I was happy when Charles & I got married, I might have been slightly happier the first day I moved in with him. I don't know...that's a truly difficult question.

Robyn said...

yeah me either! I can't nail down one! Kind of sad about that! Uh! I think I will have to work on that!
Check out my crazy post!
Hugs,
Robyn

B.E. Sanderson said...

I think it's a positive thing that you've had plenty of happy days in your life but can't nail down your happiest one. I don't have a happiest day either. Maybe that's because IMO if you've already had a happiest, there's nothing left to look forward to. I like the thought that happier days are still to come, and beyond those more happiness. =o)

Melissa Marsh said...

Awesome post, Travis. I don't know that I can really pinpoint my happiest moment, either. I have lots of happy moments, lots of ecstatic "the world is right for just this minute" moments.

Mary said...

“There was my big plan to propose at the top of a mountain, but halfway up she was out of breath and gasping from lack of oxygen, as was I...” LOL!!! :)

On happiness: I think it’s precisely because you are happy and optimistic about life in general, that the un-happy or stressful times stick more in your mind.

Melanie Avila said...

Blogland is determined to snap me out of my funk. :) What a beautiful post. I tend to be happy most of the time so it's also hard for me to pick ONE day.

Patti said...

without hesitation, the happiest day of my life was when i was cleared of dying from melanoma...and the doc said i would live to be a old woman. sheer joy. hands down.

Barbara Martin said...

For my happiest day: when Bruce Davidson, then riding on the U.S. Olympic Three Day Event team, said my sorrel Quarter Horse gelding was an "eventer".

Cicily said...

The day I met you..

Wait, Jenn hasn't sent me the check yet this month to continue being your friend...

I can't say that yet.


Very good writing here and for you, sanely heartfelt and emotional.

Loved it.

My happiest day? Besides children, marriage and fun in between, realizing that I was a real writer.

And that came the day I got my first rejection.

Bittersweet is best.

kinda like you.

Janna Qualman said...

I'm with you; so much makes me happy, it's hard to narrow it down to a mere day or two. Yes, the births of my daughters are high on the list, and certain days with them through their childhood take some cake, but other things rank high, too.

Junosmom said...

Hi Travis, I've been thinking about your post and "happiness". It evolved into a blog entry, so thanks for the prompt! It will "air" on 8/13. But the basic premise I have is that people are too caught up in individual happiness and orgasmic moments, rather than the overall picture. And I think that is what is destroying the American family.

Monnik said...

somehow i missed this post. But I want to comment that this was a fabulously written post. Really well done. (I feel like I always say that when I comment on your blog, but it's why I've been coming back for a long time!)

I could pinpoint my saddest moment. Even my most afraid moment. But like you, happiest is too hard to narrow down. In this, I'm fortunate to have had countless happy moments.