Monday, January 6, 2014

Wringing out the towel of happiness

My kids love Elvis.

Primo was the progenitor of the family's current Elvis craze. For a long time, he's been hard-core into the crooners -- Frank and Dino, in particular -- and from there, he leapt to Elvis. He has introduced his sisters to it and the King pleases them all, especially the baby. I think it's that simple, driving beat that is so baby-friendly, letting her unleash her frenetic dance moves in all their glory.

Yesterday, Primo cued up "Hound Dog" and the kids had an impromptu dance party in the living room. The baby shrieked with delight and ran over to her sister, grabbing her hand and leading her into the middle of the carpet, while Primo, in a bow tie and suit shirt, joined in. They all bounced up and down like bona fide teeny boppers, wild, joyful smiles spread across their faces, sporadic giggles erupting from their mouths. Does this sound like a Hallmark moment? Good. It was. It was a super-sized feel-good moment that makes your heart so warm, it's molten.

"This is what I imagined when I told you we should have another child," I said to David. "I told you I could see us side by side, watching three crazy kids being loud and ridiculous and laughing their heads off in the middle of shenanigans and I could see us looking at each other and shaking out heads, full of wonder and joy and exhaustion."

"Yes," he agreed,"This is that moment. And you better enjoy it, because it will last approximately three more seconds."

As he finished his sentence, the baby's frenzied dance moves propelled her into the wall, and she started bawling her head off. Right on cue.

David is right. We get those Hallmark moments -- and for our family, they're never the quiet moments of repose, but explosive moments of cacophony, where the three children collide together into a fleeting, thunderous communion of spirit. We get those moments, I'd estimate, once every week or so. The moments where you feel a joy so expansive you can barely contain it. A fullness. It's transcendent. And it never lasts more than 10, at most 30 seconds. Then it's over, and reality descends with crying and squabbling and anxiety and disappointment.

But, when you think about, 10 seconds of transcendence and joy is really a windfall. The trick is not to miss it. So, this year, among my other resolutions, I think I'll work on sucking every last ounce of those beautiful moments in, right down to the dregs. You could call it savoring the moment but I imagine it as a  bit more violent: wringing the towel of joyfulness out until that stingy thing releases it's last drop.

Happy New Year, folks. May you wring the SHIT out of your happiness.