The girls run around the mound of grass, their faces full of glee. Ammu runs and Pattu chases her. Laddu toddles by the edges, waiting to be part of the action. I stand by her, clicking pictures of the three, my face a picture of happiness. I glance at the time on my phone and decide we need to head back. I call out and the girls signal for more time. I hold out my palm and mouth “five minutes”. They nod and continue on. I let Laddu crawl in the grass and watch with interest. A couple pass me by. The lady waves, pauses, looks wistfully at the kids and me, starts as if to say something and walks away. I am tempted to call her back and ask her what is it she wanted to say. My first thought was it is something about the unusual nature of our family but the depth of longing in her eyes told a different story.
What did she see in us? A mom with three kids running in the grass, clutching a loaf of Jalapeno bread and a bag of popcorn. On our drive back I made up stories in my head about who she was and what she wanted to say. Perhaps she saw a slice of life that seemed perfect to her? The word ‘perfect’ has been hovering in my head over the past few days. A comment on the blog, a comment on Facebook. I nod enthusiastically and agree. Life is perfect or near perfect. At least the slices I showcase. I look back on my Facebook feed. I read through my blogs. What appears are curated moments. Mostly the happy ones. Ones that talk about family, finding contentment and looking for happiness within.
What about the moments that go by unmentioned? The ones that are as much a part of my life as the perfect ones are? The ones where I struggle with potty regression, with putting a lid on my tendency to flare up, my struggles with allowing space in my relationships, the days and weeks when I question my career choices or lack of them, friendships and how they mutate. Every few years I seem to have a main theme of discontent in my life. Lack of career progression, infertility, struggling to find closure, hard road to adoption, being a late mother. I struggle with it, share or not, journal and move on.
I realize I do not record them publicly for a reason. As much as they are a vital part of the fabric of my life, they serve better as the frame that holds the tapestry up. The accentuate and spotlight the good ones so I know not to take them for granted. What the woman at the farmer’s market saw was a pocket of happiness. A picture that preceded an exhausting evening. Yet, if not for these pockets, is this life worth living?