Abraham Lincoln said, "Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." I used to think that he must not have had much sympathy for emotional people, but after knowing quite a bit about President Lincoln's life, I realize that this must have been the little pep talk that he gave himself to get through it all--a nation at war, the death of a son, the distress of his wife, and a Presidential cabinet that hated each other. This last week is proof for me that you can believe in all the happiness you want and it sometimes you still fall apart.
I tried. I did. I gave an extremely valiant effort to stay cheery and peaceful and glass half full.
Like when my ab muscles ripped in half, I told myself that some things are worth sacrificing for pregnancy.
Or when I didn't get to catch up with my friends at our collegiate alumni soccer game, I remembered that earlier in the week I had been able to spend many hours with my friend Devon at a teahouse in Corvallis.
Or when Jason experienced severe pain and was diagnosed with a hernia, I remained thankful that it was diagnosed early and that our super duper awesome health insurance would cover the surgery (however, we found out today that--hallelujah--he doesn't have a hernia, only a strained ligament).
Or when Sydney came down with a serious case of the runs, resulting in not only one but two messy beds in 12 hours, I considered it a blessing that at least she wasn't throwing up. And I was thankful for our washing machine. Seven days later she still has seriously distraught diapers, but she remains in good spirits.
But by the time Friday came along, all my little pep talks were wearing thin. When my doctor's appointment on Friday was full of nothing but good news, I cried through the whole appointment. Cried because earlier in the week my brother's sister-in-law had a miscarriage. Cried because Sydney kept me up half the night. And cried because, vanity of vanities, I wasn't prepared to see the scale at the doctor's office reach that 130 mark. Yes, I know weight gain is part of pregnancy. Yes, I know that my doctor congratulated me on finally putting on some weight half way through the pregnancy. But I have to mentally prepare myself for every pound, and seeing that "3" on the scale was more than I was ready for at 10 in the morning.
Yet, I remembered: in a year I'll be back to normal. I crammed my mind with as much happiness as I could, praised God for all the blessings that I have, and whispered, "I make up my mind to be happy."
I make up my mind to be happy.
But, oh! Some of us have discovered that there are things stronger than our minds. Like the power of a toddler's total meltdown. Just yesterday, after a pleasant morning's walk to the park, after a handful of M&Ms, and after enjoying time together, the afternoon felt apart. Totally and completely. Naptime was met with hysteria and lunch was totally unacceptable. I held my sobbing child while listening to a peaceful piano rendition of "Amazing Grace" and said, "I make up my mind to be happy." Only--and here's the great lesson of the day--I couldn't get there. All I could think was, "I really wanted a tuna sandwich for lunch and now I won't get one."
I don't know how many people cry over tuna, but I will admit to being one of them. No matter how brightly the shone sun, how soundly my daughter eventually slept, how beautifully my new dining room light hung over the table--my mind wouldn't wasn't going to keep me from turning into a puddle of tears.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts to remain calm, breathe deeply, and consider how trivial some problems really are, there is no happy thought powerful enough to keep us from breaking down. Abraham Lincoln may have had good reasons behind his words of advice, but I bet he didn't have to try to get a toddler to take a nap or search his closet for a pair of shorts that still fit.
So don't mind me. I'm not unhappy. I'm not depressed or stressed or ill or miserable. I'm just pregnant and hormonal and a mom of a toddler. I've tried making up my mind to be happy, only sometimes I get peanut butter and jelly instead.