Monday, 13 August 2007

HappySad

It’s bedtime, in fact past bedtime, as usual, and my daughter lies in her little bed beneath her little duvet with little fairies embroidered on it. I have kissed her good night and moved next door to the room with the computer. There is a bit of rustling and then I hear her voice, clear and steady.

If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands!

Slowly, then quickly …

If you’re happy and you know it, andyoureallywanttoshowit,ifyou’rehappyandyouknowitclapyourhands!

Verse after verse of clapping hands, stamping feet, being happy.

Does it mean she’s happy? I think so. I’d like to think so. Does she know what happiness is? Do any of us? Is feeling loved happiness? Knowing someone else you love feels loved? I know that I am happy, listening to her at that moment.

Did the sad boy in the photo sing contentedly to himself as he fell asleep at night? I hope he did, at one time. I asked my mother who he was and she said she thought he was her half-brother. You can imagine he might have been a little sad, if you know the story. You can imagine she might have been sad if you know the story. Her father, one moment here, the next on a different continent. Then with a different family. There was a lot of sadness around, in those days. You were lucky if you weren’t gripped by it. You took happiness where you could find it; in small things, in minor, everyday, joys.

The singing has tailed off into thumb-sucking. A couple of moments later I peer through the doorway and her thumb has slipped from her lips. Her head is in profile, as if in silent communication with the gaggle of soft toys. The pillow is splashed by her milky-coffee curls. She looks content, serene; asleep in her little, happy, world.

61 comments:

Beccers said...

it MUST mean she's happy, and you're definitely doing something right.

Glad you're not the sad boy in the photo.

Elsie Button said...

oh lovely! I don't think you can ask for more than that - that your daughter is obviously a very happy little soul. What a wonderful description of her sleeping too.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Sahd, I think she sounds very happy. she has two happy parents who love her. She is off to a very good start.
I have lots of glum black and white photos of family members I will never know. I wonder if a glum look was de rigeur, or were they just glum? I feel rather glum that I will never know their stories.
Still, onwards and upwards, I'm very glad you posted again.
Pigx

Stay at home dad said...

Thank you Beccers. Me too!

Thanks Elsie, I need to pay you a visit ...

Yes, I would think so Pig, thanks. I think everyone was miserable in black and white days; trouble was we didn't get a colour TV until the eighties!

Ben said...

That wonderful description sounds so like my own daughter, Emily. It is beautiful to see isn't it?

Stay at home dad said...

Thanks Ben. Yes, it's universal. You forget that. So much of what happens to you has happened to other people too.

The Poster formerly known as VI said...

Magical SAHD, and as you say a universal yet unique pleasure to all parents!

While You Were Sleeping by Tara Simms

While you were sleeping,
I sat by your bed.
I watched you
as you smiled through your dreams.

I traced your perfect shell ear,
Touched every curl
On your little head.

I tried to sleep
But the sound of your breathing
Drew me back to your room.

I couldn't resist
The magic which tugged
At my heartstrings
And brought me to your side.

I settled on the floor
Once again.
Back against the wall,
Holding your tiny hand in mine.

While you were sleeping
I fell in love with you all over again.

Stay at home dad said...

Thanks VI. Is that a pseudonym?!

The Poster formerly known as VI said...

I only go by the name of Tara on Monday evenings !

Brom said...

Nice!

"In fact past bed time"

It's amazing how daughters have this ability to steal a few extra minutes when their Dad's are in charge!

Suffolkmum said...

A memory to treasure - somtimes they come thick and fast, don't they, and you think your heart could burst with the love of them. Other days, you can't wait to get them off to bed (she said sourly!)

Stay at home dad said...

Good night Tara...

Stay at home dad said...

Actually Brom, in our case it's my wife. I'd get her to bed by 7pm if it was up to me!

See above SuffolkMum ... they're seldom easy, that's for sure.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Lovely.

Stay at home dad said...

Thanks M&M!

Becc said...

First time visiting.

It puts a smile on my face to know there's another happy little one out there....

ziggi said...

yep - lovely. The best time to see children in my experience, when they're asleep!

D'you think there really was more sadness back then than now? Maybe just a different kind rather than more, I think (sadly!).

Stay at home dad said...

Hello Becc and welcome. I'm glad to hear it; yes it's contagious ...

Ziggi, yes, particularly if you have more than one. I think post-war there was more sadness, dealing with death, injury, displacement, poverty etc. But within that, joy, I'm sure...

rilly super said...

oh to be that age again, sigh (I mean you daughter's age, not your's SAHD dear).

Stay at home dad said...

Somewhere in between perhaps Rilly...

Omega Mum said...

That happy/sad balance - your daughter/the boy in the photo. Good stuff. Great book title.....

@themill said...

Could hardly bear to read this - feeling somewhat emotional as just taken my 'little girl' to her new future.
Beautiful, as always.

Terance said...

I've just found your site and enjoy it immensely. If you would like a few ideas on some recipes for your little lady, check out my site. www.housedadchronicals.com I'll be back!

Tina said...

Lovely post SAHD. Thanks for visiting my blog, I've set up the link now. My son's nearly 9 now, but I still love to see him sleeping. Now he calls to me when he's in bed "Mum, do somthing on the computer, I like the sound", which is when I come and do my blog.

Your daughter, I'm sure, is very happy

Stay at home dad said...

Thanks OM. You know you're right, that would be a good title.

Thank you @TM too. I want to ask you about it, but this isn't really the right place. Damn.

Hello Terance and cheers. I will be sure to check them out.

Thank you Tina. They like you to be nearby don't they. That's nice in itself...

lady macleod said...

The only word for it is "awww". How brilliant are YOU to know you are happy? That my friend is a gift. Well done, as always.

Stay at home dad said...

Thank you, your ladyship. It's certainly not my natural state!

DJ Kirkby said...

Sweet!

Stay at home dad said...

Thanks DJK!

carrie said...

That was so sweet. I have no doubt that right there, at that very minute, your daughter was extremely happy - as you probably were gazing upon her sleeping form.

Carrie

Drunk Mummy said...

My daughter used to sing 'Happy Birthday' to herself to go to sleep. We used to listen to her on the baby monitor, and she always sounded like a rather benevolent drunk at a party.

Stay at home dad said...

I think you're right Carrie; happy days ...

Yes DM, Happy Birthday and Twinkle Twinkle seem to be suitable for most occasions. There are no benevolent drunks nowadays are there?

Milla said...

Have just found you by linking on a comment you left on someone else's blog - weird thing, this blogging stuff. Very touching. My own tinies, now 8 and 10 have both romped off to the park on their own and those days of nursery rhymes, while interminable at the time, have now had the waters close over them. Which is inexpressibly sad. Must wait til biology says that I can march 'em to stud and produce some grandchildren pronto.

Milla said...

Oh, that's annoying, I left a comment which hasn't taken, but it was alone the lines of how I found you through you commenting on someone else I liked, and how weird this blogging thing is. How touching your blog was and how inexpressibly sad I can't but be that my own tinies have just romped off to the park, on their own (safe village). How those days of nursery rhymes, seemingly unending at the time, are suddenly over, with the water closing over them never to be revisited. Then some cruel stuff about waiting for biology to sanction my dragging my boys off to stud the minute I can to provide grandchildren as pronto replacements!

Milla said...

d'oh! me again. Oh the blushing. You have to approve them. How scary is that. Please don't disapprove, too fragile to take the rejection.

Stay at home dad said...

Hello Milla. Thanks for dropping in. I enjoyed all three of your comments! And I appreciate your kind words. It is sad but it was difficult (see Drunk Mummy's latest).

Motheratlarge said...

My daughter loves that song too. In fact we've just been back to M&S to buy a replacement musical book of the song after she wore out the battery on the first one.
For me, happiness is being in the moment, and it sounds as if your daughter is able to do that. And it also sounds as if you can do that too when you're spending time with her.
Beautiful, poignant posting - thank you so much for this. Reading your site helps me appreciate the ordinary events of looking after my own daughter so much more.

Stay at home dad said...

It always amazes me that no parent has ever changed a toy battery M@L. It runs out, it stops working or we buy a new one!

I'm so flattered that you say those things. Thank you hardly covers it ...

Sparx said...

Hi SAHD - I love it that she sings herself to sleep, so sweet. She must be a very happy child indeed!

Snuffleupagus said...

How lovely. Remember she wouldn't be happy, if it weren't for you.

Stay at home dad said...

Hi Sparx, yes it's one of the cuter things. Let me tell about some more ...!

Thanks Snuffy, good point I guess!

Self employed mum said...

This too is my first time visiting. Lovely post. Happiness to melt yout heart.

My daughter, age 7, is a fellow thumb sucker, she doesn't sing, she blethers, but she has the unmistakable sooking noice of thumb sucking just as she falls over -sweet.

Stay at home dad said...

Hello Self emloyed mum and good of you to come. Thank you, my theory is that as long as they are sucking their thumb there is something of the baby in them. When that stops they have largely grown up.

Self employed mum said...

I was still sucking my thumb at 12!!! LOL

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Catching up. Children continue to make us smile.

Crystal xx

dulwichmum said...

How perfect is that picture you have painted? Just beautiful.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

My daughter loved that song too. We used to sing it together all the time, back when she allowed me to sing. Family secrets! My dad has or had a half brother floating around in the universe somewhere. He's probably dead now. His mother died and his dad, my grandfather, gave the child up to his maternal grandparents when he married my grandmother. I wonder if he was a sad or happy boy.

Ekoakete said...

First time visiting here. Funny, just this evening I was resisting my little daughter's new attempts to stay up past bedtime. Great post.

Rebecca said...

I think it's much easier to judge whether we were happy or not in hindsight, don't you?

I'm sure your daughter is happy, though. I think kids have a great, natural capacity for pure, true joy!

Stay at home dad said...

I think I was too SEM!

Yes CJ. I imagine forever.

Thank you Dulwich Mum. I'm lucky indeed to have that and your nice comments too.

That sounds like a long story, Wakeup... These things are so much more interesting when viewed from a distance.

Hello Ekoakete and thank you. Oh yes, they have many ways...

I think you are right about children Rebecca. In fact I'm sure.

As for your point about happiness -if you can move that moment as much into the present as possible then that is probably pretty much the secret to life.

Rebecca said...

yes- I think that's right SAHD - I think there's a great deal of consciously DECIDING to be happy in actually being happy. (if that makes sense)

And so I go - a permanent smile plastered to my face......

;)

Stay at home dad said...

It does, it does. And I can see - you are smiling!

Lilly said...

Hi Sahd, what a wonderful post, as always... I am a little jelous, though. I have three toddlers who fight bedtime like crazy. My little girl especcially, won't lie there and sing a little song and then go to sleep! Bless, how wonderful that must be!!!
Oh, and one thing I heard, was that in the "olden days" taking a picture was a very serious thing. That's why not many people smiled - they weren't necessarily unhappy/glum, just serious.

Stay at home dad said...

Hi Lilly. Thanks very much, as always! Well that is the benefit of having one child I suppose. But there must be many benefits of having three...

Good point on the photos. I really meant the post-war years, but perhaps that was still true then.

Alasdair said...

Hi Sahd,

I hope you don't mind ... I'm not a regular visitor, but when I got this "nice matters" award I thought of you ... it's yours if you want it, pop over to pick it up ;)

Stay at home dad said...

Hello Alasdair. No, I certainly don't mind! Very kind of you. Thanks I'll come over.

DJ Kirkby said...

*ahem* next post please?

Stay at home dad said...

Hello DJK. Weird - you read my mind!

Jen said...

Isn't that what all parents want? For our children to be happy. Kids have the wonderful gift of finding joy in life, something us boring adults should try to emulate!
She sounds adorable.
jen-rantsraves.blogspot.com

Stay at home dad said...

Thanks Jen. Yes, I think it is. I would certainly hope so; what else could you want for them?

Rebecca said...

you know I think kids CAN be totally happy - in a pure, blissed out kinda way, without any of that underneath melancholy that adults can sometimes have.

and - your daughter - she has a totally devoted Dad. Good reason to be deeply happy. It's a gift she will treasure her entire life.