I used to measure happiness by counting milestones in my life. I was always waiting for the next big thing to happen. The important, life-changing things - first date, first kiss (not necessarily in that order), graduating high school, going to college, going on a mission, coming home from a mission, graduating college, getting married, having my first child. Occasionally I feel like the first 30 years of my life passed me by in a haze of waiting for the "biggies." I don't mean that in a maudlin, boo hoo, feel sorry for me sort of way. . . just a "I wasn't enjoying life to it's fullest and thank goodness time teaches us" sort of way.
My measuring stick of life has changed a bit these days. Now my life is assessed by infinitely more important measures. Such as:
1) How many times does Hazel poop in one day?
2) How long does a certain child hold it and hop around before he will run to the toilet. . . life is good, the shorter and shorter that measurement gets.
3) Percentage of time a child goes to the bathroom in the toilet rather than in their underwear.
4) How often does Nikolai stop himself from saying "poop" or "fart"?**
5) How many years will Luke continue to open mouth kiss people?
6) When Hazel started saying "Hi" (pronounced "huh" but I swear she means hello)
7) When the boys play more than they fight.
8) When any child can go a whole car ride without asking me "How much longer?"
9) The number of years and kids we can get out of one pair of pants. (I've found an open button and a tug downward greatly extends the life of the clothing in the Hales household.)
10) As each child learns to say, "I love you."
**If you can't tell from numbers 1-4, there is a whole lot of potty that goes on in a house with three kids under 5, two of whom are boys. Visit at your own risk and please don't be offended -- really, we're working on it.
My happiness milestones are no longer about ME. And while our daily valuations are focused on smaller things, they are endlessly more important. These 3 little people constantly remind me that life isn't made up of "life-changing" milestones only. Instead today's bliss is constructed from precious moments of connection with one another. I'm trying to savor moments and milestones. And it feels so good.
Luke with his bestie Eva.
Don't turn your back or there will definitely be a "moment."
Lazy days at the pool with the kids. We take more gear than kids with us.
Life's not complete without a little dairy godmother.
Now this was a milestone to Niko :). He's been practicing and he finally. did. it. yeah!!!
Will he bite me?
Life is good.