Are You Happy?

“Are you happy, Mommy?” she asks me, blue eyes wide.

 

She tips her head, looking up, forcing eye contact. I love that about her. Three years old and she refuses to allow me to evade her gaze.

 

“I’m fine, Sweetheart. I’m good,” I answer quietly, smiling a tight, closed-lipped smile that even she sees doesn’t reach my eyes.

 

“You like me?” she asks cautiously.

 

I sigh heavily, lean into her soft, curling tendrils. They tickle my nose.

 

“I love you, Darling. I always, always, always love you.”

 

“But do you LIKE me?”

 

She knows. She knows that I am utterly unamused that she ran off to her bedroom to do #2 business, rather than heading for the potty. Pretty much trained for well over a year now, she knows this well.

 

She hears the snap in my voice when I say, “Go get the wipes and new underpants.” Never mind that her older siblings were not trained at ALL at this age…

 

She watches me toss my hair and shake my head. She delivers the requested items tentatively, “Here, Mama.”

 

I huff out my frustration, a heavy exhalation through my nostrils. Roll flashing eyes heavenward and breathe in.

 

I look down at her expectant, solemn face. (“You like me?”)

 

“Yes, I like you. Of course I like you. You’re precious to me.”

 

She snuggles up to me for a moment. Then leans back, gazing up at me again,

 

“But are you happy, Mama?”

 

I pause.

 

And you know… I am.

 

I am happy.

 

And I need to work harder at letting them see that I am.

 

I don’t want them to have to ask anymore.

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