Musical Daddy asked me if other parents enjoy their children so much and if other kids are as much fun as The Boy (not that Meatball isn't fun, but he is a pretty typical baby at the moment). Of course, we think that our child is wonderful, but the question really stuck in my head.
Today I was reading Parenting magazine with Meatball drifting off to sleep in my lap, and I came across this article about the habits of happy families and what they do to feel better about life, regardless of what's going on. Things like feeling satisfied with plans made (such as, enjoying your hotel room while on vacation and not getting upset that someone else has a better balcony than you do) and just enjoying things while they are happening, and remembering them often, instead of getting upset about not being able to do something again or being distracted.
And THEN, I was on the phone with my telephone shrink (she calls every 2-3 weeks and has for awhile; I can't actually go to the real-life therapist anymore unfortunately). Oddly enough, she also has a child who had Wilms tumor. She said that one of the blessings that comes with cancer is that all of a sudden, the less significant problems just don't matter and the joyful moments are truly joyful. It is a blessing because that mode of thinking continues for the rest of your life. My mother will confirm that, as a cancer survivor herself, and we certainly agree. It was at that point that I understood why Musical Daddy said what he did. Of course we think that our children are the greatest, but he has been "blessed" because of The Boy's cancer with the ability to make the most out of the wonderful moments and to make nothing out of the difficult ones.
At some point awhile ago, after having struggled for awhile with The Boy and his behavior as a two-year-old, something switched on in that same regard where I am so much more in tune with what he actually needs and what his real motivations are, and frequently he'll just listen to me which is amazing. And if he doesn't and I need to force an issue, I don't get frustrated--I merely explain what we're doing and why we have to, and I empathize as necessary. It helps that I have Meatball's patterns pretty much down to a science (which means that they're going to change soon) and I can focus my energy appropriately.
Anyhow, I think that we really "get it" when it comes to being as happy as we can be. Sometimes I just want to smack some people for complaining and say, "If WE can manage to be happy and enjoy our children and each other, you can suck it up too" which would, of course, defeat the purpose. More to the point, troubles are not relative (even with troublesome relatives). When you struggle, it's real. And when you can see past your troubles and enjoy life in spite of them, you're always better off.