I am no longer concerned with my children's happiness.
That, of course, is the Zen Buddhist me talking.
But it's true. I'm concerned with the boys' physical and mental well-being, their general education, their spiritual formation and their personal hygiene. If they are injured or appear to be unduly sad or anxious, I will seek treatment for them. If they appear ignorant, I'll hand them a book, and if they seem spiritually waylaid, I'll say a prayer.
If they're unhappy? Well, that's just tough.
Here's the thing: I don't even think it's good to try to make your kid happy. Okay, maybe on his birthday, you ought to bend over backwards, but every day? Looking back over my parenting career, I have spent too much time worrying about whether my children are happy. And here's my question: How much time have they spent worrying about making me happy?
Not enough, ladies, not enough.
It is time for the tables to turn. It's time to make Mom happy. Plan No. 1: My children are going to do all the chores I hate to do. Plan No. 2: They're going to quit saying, "But that's not fair!" whenever I ask them to do a chore not on their regular chore list.
My goal is no longer making my children happy. It is to ensure they are not a burden on society. Or me.
Yesterday I made spaghetti sauce out of fresh tomatoes. I added garlic and basil from our garden. I processed the tomatoes with my new food mill, and I kept stealing spoonfuls of the tomato juice as it collected in the pot. Heaven!
Today I'm making curtains and working on a quilt. And making my children do the chores I don't want to do. You know what's weird? The more I make them do stuff they don't want to do, the happier they seem. Go figure.