Sitting on my garden swing watching my daughter play, I pondered the subject of happiness. “What makes you happy?” I inadvertently queried out loud and immediately got the response:
“Cuddles and kisses. Rainbows and stars.”
Such a simple answer but unhindered by the complications of adult thought. Fascinated by the child’s view on this complex subject, I asked again, “what’s your favourite place?”
“Lying in the secret field watching the mermaids swim through the clouds.” She thought for a while and added, “but anywhere if you’re with me Mummy.”
My heart melted but I continued, “and if we could go anywhere, where would we go?”
“We’d float up the rainbow to touch the stars and when we get there we’ll sprinkle down stardust to make people smile.”
And finally I thought about, as adults, the what if? dreams we have. What if money were no object? What if I won the lottery? What if I got that big break? I wondered what a four year old’s what if dreams would be.
“If you could have anything what would it be?”
“I’d like to sit on your knee and read all my favourite books and cuddle till I fall asleep. Then you can carry me to bed, snuggle me in and kiss me good night.”
And there it was, plain and simple, the answer to happiness. We should put aside our grown up obsessions and remember what really matters. Happiness is making my children smile so hard I can see how many times the tooth fairy has visited, giving them my time, my undivided attention and feeding their magical imaginations. Happiness is lying in a field looking for mystical creatures in the clouds. Happiness is running hand in hand through the trees and the meadows. Happiness doesn’t and shouldn’t cost anything other than quality time and unconditional love.
I put down my mobile phone and scooped her up, giving her a big kiss, and together we bounced on the trampoline holding hands.