When I was a kid I had Charlie Brown sheets with lots of these simplistic, but characteristically Peanut's quotes. The title of this blog was one of the quote squares in these sheets that stuck with me. Maybe because of that, happiness as a concept is something I've been fascinated with for as long as I can remember. For me happiness has no clear definition and it's as elusive as... (well you fill in the blank to whatever is elusive to you). What I do know about happiness is that you can't have happiness without sadness, just like you can't have goodness without evil. But at least in my life, I feel like the scales aren't calibrated correctly, and unfortunately it often times feels like sadness and evil have the upper hand, especially now in these past couple of unprecedented years.
Right now in my life, happiness comes in the form of fleeting moments. Those seconds when the bliss you feel in your heart and in mind are all that matter. I long for these moments and they are way too infrequent, but they are becoming more and more frequent since moving here to Belize with my soulmate. Being here with my Daniella in Belize makes me think that Charlie Brown was onto something in the overly simplistic nature of everything Charlie Brown should be applauded for. And, it's a bit relevant because Daniella has had her blankie since she was born like little Linus (let's see if she reads my blog posts, because if she does, she'll kill me for posting this!). Anyhow, I don't mind her doing this at all. If a blankie when she’s tired is comfort to her, all the more power to her. One day she said, "if a boy doesn't like that I have a blankie, then he's not the right boy for me". Damn was I proud of her. I know when she's ready to stop she will.
Anyhow, in our 2+ months here, I've never seen my Daniella so happy and these moments make me stop and feel this contagious happiness too, even when I'm overwhelmed with logistically making this all work. These moments have made me realize that at this point in my life, when she's happy, I am happy (and I mean happy beyond words). Her radiant happiness makes all of the challenges I've experienced and still experience in getting us here and living here, worth every ounce of energy, every tear, every doubt, etc., (and there have been many!) well beyond what I can explain.
Here comes the big part of this post. I have always been an open book because I feel I'm not alone in my behaviors, rather, I'm just less afraid to put it out there, mostly because I don't really care how people judge me. I believe you shouldn't judge someone's journey if you haven't walked a mile in their shoes. So, in that vain, I will throw myself out there because that's just who I am and it's an important part of this story. And, by the way, you can judge me, but please know that no one could ever be as harsh as my own self in this judgment.
After my divorce, I got myself into a relationship with a married man. And, it wasn't just a tryst. It was a THREE YEAR relationship. And during those three years, my daughter was the real victim. I never considered myself a victim here because it was my choice that led to it all. And, I don't like the concept of being a victim in general. I had and have full control over everything in as far as my decisions are concerned, so I was not at all a victim. I was an idiot maybe (ok definitely), but not a victim.
This whole mistake is such a longer story for this post, but I definitely consider it one of my life's biggest mistakes to date. I know with 100% certainty that I will never make this mistake again. It's a mistake that caused me to live way too many years of my life in a self-destructive phase because of the guilt of knowing that what I was doing was soooo wrong and most importantly, (though not recognizing it at the time), it was at the detriment of my daughter. Forgiving myself for that is still a daily battle, but I’ve made a lot of progress since I’m actively fixing what I can—making up for that lost time, if you will.
During this awfully selfish time, there were days when my baby girl made her own Easy-Mac in the microwave and proceeded to eat it while sitting in a little monkey outdoor camping chair at our coffee table in our tiny NYC apartment with her headphones on and iPad in front of her, while I was in another room obsessed with when the next text would come in from a married, cheating man that isn't even worth the oxygen he is allowed to breathe. But I don't blame the narcissist he is. As little as I think of him, I take full ownership for my role in this situation. I had a choice. I am a smart woman and I know right from wrong, and I chose wrong.
As a result, I've paid the consequences dearly (and I deserve every single consequence that came and still come along with it, though very rarely now). I am an intelligent, yet often times vulnerable, woman and so one day, I had had enough and just like turning a switch off, I ended it. My process of healing and of begging the Universe for forgiveness and then the harder part of self-forgiveness, continues to be one of the most eye-opening journeys I might have ever embarked on. However, had it not all happened, I might not be here in Belize experiencing every single new moment with my baby girl. So again, I try not to go into the regret space. I think every thing, every person, every situation has a purpose in your life.
In the past 2 months here, I think I've already made up for a lot of that lost time with my amazing daughter. Since we've been here, I've never seen her so happy. We've laughed harder than we ever have before. We are always together and I see how happy that makes her (and me too, though I do long for some me-time). I could recount so many experiences where I've never seen her so happy to just be here experiencing life (a different life) and spending time with me doing things that are so new and different to what she's ever known and to what we've ever known together.
This past weekend, all she wanted to do was go fishing. I didn't even know where to start. I've lived in a cement jungle for so long. Long story short, it was an epic failure that led to me bawling on this pier because I couldn't teach her things I should be able to teach her. She ended up consoling me because that's how awesome she is. As I was puffy eyed, this 13 year old local came and I asked him for help. He knew so much. I smile thinking about how different kids' lives are based on where they live (I'd rather know how to catch a fish than divide fractions!). Anyhow, one of the benefits that came out of it will be her starting sailing lessons on Friday with San Pedro Sailing Club for kids with his older brother (and without me there to freak her out with my anxiety).
Eager to practice her new fishing learnings, today she wanted to go back and try her luck. I so didn't want to after this past weekend. I was having a busy Monday and wasn't in the best mood, but I want her to be happy and so I obliged. We went out to our ocean lagoon backyard. And, within an hour she caught a mangrove snapper. While it was small, it's totally edible and was just enough for her dinner. But what's most priceless was her happiness--like happiness I've never seen in her. She said she was on the verge of crying happy tears which was a new thing for her. And that is the most rewarding thing I could have heard as a mother who is struggling every day seeking redemption.
I honestly believe God, the Universe, and my Angels gave me this experience of her catching this fish today to remind me why I am here and to just chill and let it go. Life now is about survival in these crazy times and all I want to do is create lasting HAPPY memories with my Daniella--my soulmate. And if that's my success criteria, I'm doing A-ok! Happiness sometimes should be as simple as a warm blanket.
(That face says it all!) Thank you God, Universe, and my Angels <3<3<3
I love that my empathetic baby girl put a little piece of bait in the bucket—a last meal if you will! That‘s so characteristic of my Daniella!
And the final dish. From ocean to plate in 30 minutes!