Opinion

The cost of happiness

Jerry Maldonado Contributor

Most if not all of us would agree that everyone deserves and has the right to be happy. My question to all of you is what it takes to make a person happy?

A dear friend of mine brought up the Andy Griffith theory of simple happiness when I questioned her about my situation that most of you have read in my columns. Like most of us, we grew up when television still believed in the simple life. The simple act of fishing at the water hole, or a walk with a loved one were perfect analogies most have forgotten about. The same holds true with marriage, children, and responsibility about creating that once sacred institution that now seems expendable to most.

My opinion on this is simple and perhaps I am old-fashioned, but consider what most would think happiness means. It means having the biggest house on the block, or the newest phone to waste your time talking to people when you should be paying attention to the little things in life.

A few weeks ago, like I do every weekend, I had all my children with me as part of the agreement in this contentious battle I am now involved in. That is something I cherish and leave the world behind for those few days, but something happened that I hope will inspire you to take action in your own lives.

It was near bedtime and I noticed my 7-year-old pacing just before bed. I approached her with caution and began to ask questions as the tears flowed from her eyes as we began our usual snuggle-fest under her favorite comforter.

This child, who is the rock of the family, finally had her meltdown about what has occurred these past few months. She didn’t speak much, but the tears flowed like a small stream until she finally opened up. The answer took me back and both of us had tears as a result.

I asked this child, “Does Mommy snuggle with you at night like we do here?” That question really opened her eyes as she looked at me and said “No.” The tears began to fall again. This child probably did not know what was bothering her, but after simple questioning I found the truth. Most important, I was lucky enough to be there like a parent should and answer questions these little minds deserve to know. After a few minutes, this child went to sleep with the biggest smile on her face as she snuggled with her favorite stuffed animal.

The situation I am in is probably the best thing to ever happen to me. My parenting routine has and will never change, but to see a child go through such pain was heart-wrenching. I should have known this considering what my upbringing consisted of, but there really is no book on the perfect solution to family break-ups. The only thing people can do is set aside time to make sure the little one’s that were created as a result know you will be there for them.

Put down the phone, get off the computer, and do the little things that your children will always cherish. No matter how many material things you provide (which I don’t); they will not help their little minds like you think they do. They are only deterrents from reality.

Even though I have always been there, they (my children) now know I will continue to be. We will always have our walks, parks, and do the simple things like the way it used to be in the old days; however, the fishing part I will have to pass on due to allergies, but they know and will never forget who listened when they needed to be heard.

Jerry Scott Maldonado is the author of the soon to be published “Columns, Quotes & The American Dream.” He is a featured columnist for The D.C.G Network of news sites: Sundaynewscape.com, Onequestionnews.com, and Imperialvalleynews.com. Jerry’s work has also been featured internationally.