five dollars worth of happiness.

big issues.  small issues.  first world problems.

then there are the “matt shorts.”

my three-year-old got a fantastic pair of red & blue plaid shorts from his uncle matt & auntie joanna for his birthday.  the kind you see & in your own mind say, “my child would rock  baby Gap with those shorts on,” while admitting this to no one.   & as soon as the snow melted, said shorts became little boy blue’s uniform.  fifty degrees & the shorts were on.  always.  it’s been this way for months now, of course, & it’s super cute.  kieran adores his uncle matt, mr. six-foot-three with the spirit of a very kind & gentle bear.  it’s no wonder kieran loves him & his shorts (matt wears his fair share of plaid, too, bless him.).  i’ve no doubt there’s some bit of hero-worship going on here, & i’m all for it.

recently, however, the matt shorts have gotten a little raggedy. as in a giant rip in one seam, & four pointed holes in the back.  i’ve probably washed those poor beasts every other day for the past 4 months.

{enter mild distress.}

kieran wouldn’t actually happily wear anything but his matt shorts or his “sleeping shorts, ” neither of which is appropriate for the public arena.  intervention was imperative.  so yesterday in wal-mart, we spotted, purchased, & bagged a replacement pair of matt shorts – blue & black plaid.  $2.50.  absolute score.

all was well;  peace was restored in the kingdom.

until today.  when the matt shorts got dirty & needed laundering.  boy wonder had to return to the “old” matt shorts, & he was concerned about those rips.  i’m thinking, “why the heck did we not buy another  pair or two of matt shorts to keep the peace around here?”  i’m not that cheap.  (okay.  yes, i actually am.)  & i’m not usually one to cater unncessarily to my kids (i don’t think so anyway;  mama objectivity is a slippery slope.), but this here problem didn’t seem like a deal breaker.  give the kid his shorts.  his cute, plaid, $2.50 shorts.  he’s not, after all, asking for the moon, or even a ferrari.  five dollars of happiness.  tiny investment, buko return.  the end.

which got me thinking.

what else do we have going on here?  it’s been a gigantic week at this house:  we’re still waiting on bean to show up (no contractions yet), & we got the astounding news that, while we thought we would be selling our house & moving soon, we did NOT in fact qualify for a home loan, given andy’s self-employed, just-started-in-the-last-year business.

oh.  followed quickly by, what??  really???

& it was 95 degrees all week.  so we kind of wandered around the house, talking out different scenarios, pondering about baby, praying to the heavens, & wandering some more.  if we don’t move, then. . . .  if we stay here a couple years more, then. . . .  & under all that presupposing, i noticed something:  tiny bubbles of hopefulness ebbing up, somethings simple & yet so profoundly pleasant that they couldn’t be knocked down again.

what do you do when life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness evades you?  walks in the other direction than the one you’re going?  when God throws you an absolute curve ball, & leaves you standing at the plate, bug-eyed & knock-kneed?  startled out of your own skin?

you take yourself in some five dollars worth of happiness.  or less, if you can afford it.

& that’s what we did.  we decided to look at what good this could mean.  what a relief it could be to not be moving with a newborn.  how we could save up some money & get a bitty skiff to get the kids out on the river in our backyard.  how we could allocate the savings reserved for “down payment” into “boost the business,” fire it up around here.

we decided to look around us & see what good there already was that didn’t require change or purchasing power.  our own bitty bits of happiness, already intact.  

as we sat in the sticky heat with fan blaring on us, we got so excited about what could be.  there, suddenly, was so much potential in staying right where we’ve been trying to get away from for two years.

& it didn’t take much except a brain overhaul.  & a serious contemplate of all the five dollar happiness that was right in front of us.  we continued camping in the basement with the kids;  it kept us cool as well as kept us feeling close to them in the brain upheaval.  we shared more popscicles.  we sat still & listened.  to our inner stories.  to each other.  to our truest hearts & dreams.  to our kids.

& what a fantastic turn of events.  we have no idea why, & i’ve taken a vow to stop badgering my brain with “what if?”  who the heck knows??  i sure don’t.  it doesn’t matter, & it only hangs me when i try to swallow it.

but i do know what’s right in front of me.  what my five dollars worth of happiness is.

& i’ll bet you do to.

whatever it is, no matter what your circumstances are today (because, gosh!  they can be muddy, huh?), take out that happiness & stare it down until it starts to seep under your skin.  make it yours; own it.

& then give it away.  the world doesn’t need you to negate the hard parts, to be dishonest about what hurts.  but it sure could use a little sunshine today, in the form of five dollars worth of your happiness.

4 thoughts on “five dollars worth of happiness.

  1. Jill – That was beautiful. I’m sorry for things not turning out as you had hoped. Thanks for writing such a great reminder of how to process changes in our lives.

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