The Happiness Project goes rogue

I’m doing a 2017 blogging series on Rubin’s The Happiness Project (for March’s “official” post, see here).

This is the unofficial March post. It’s March. And it’s about happiness. So I’m counting it as part of the series, even though I’m breaking format.

I’ve alluded recently to how difficult this academic year has been, both professionally for my husband and me, and personally for two of our three kids. The junior has been fairly miserable, swamped with AP classes and SATs and ACTs and the grind of the dreaded junior year. The 7th grader has been wrestling with some personal issues, some having to do with middle school (is there anyone who survived middle school unscathed?) and some her own #2010 demons.

But that is her story. As her mom, it’s been heartbreaking, and stressful. We want to fix everything for them, and there’s nothing I can do but sit beside her, hold her hand, and tell her that she, too, must find her own peace with it all.

So it was with this emotional baggage that we all eagerly packed our suitcases and took off for spring break. We take a family vacation every other year (the years we have them for spring break), and the 24 months between each are spent budgeting, planning, squirreling away funds, saving Christmas checks from Grandma, parceling out some of the summer second job income, and anticipating family adventures.

Our next spring break, the currently cranky and overworked junior will be a (knock on wood, fingers crossed) college freshman, and off on his own spring break adventure, so this was likely one of our last trips all together.

Where better than Jamaica to escape reality?

They called me over, with a “Mom, come see what we made for you. Thank you SO MUCH for this trip.”

This picture might be my favorite from the entire trip. To see her so joyful in her soul, after the past few months, was worth every penny.

This girl.

They didn’t have a good time at all.

It was the first time out of the country for my kids, and our first time at an all inclusive. If you have teenagers, I highly recommend paying for the all-inclusive option. Sure, the food isn’t as high-quality as other resorts, but unlimited food and virgin daiquiris for 3 teenagers more than compensates. The kids were in heaven. As were Mom and stepdude, who never had to stress out about feeding the bottomless pits.

finally had a chance to decompress, and get quiet, and do some beach reading. I whipped through Glennon Doyle Melton’s Love Warrior and Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes.If you have read Love Warrior and if you know my story, you are probably waiting to hear what I have to say about that. It was … an experience, reading that book. I have an entire blog post about that. I have an entire book to write about that.

Perhaps, for another day. Because I am no longer on the beach, watching the surf, processing and reflecting and composing. Actually, if you want to know the truth, I’m typing this in a doctor’s office waiting room, where I come every Monday night.

Back to reality.

So, I know this isn’t a post about Rubin’s book. Or a race report. Or PTSD recovery.

But it is about happiness. Even if I had to run away to Jamaica to find it.


12 responses to “The Happiness Project goes rogue

  1. What happy beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing! So glad you had a happy and restful vacation.

  2. It is wonderful to see your family so happy!

  3. Just beautiful!! The words, the pictures, the family!

  4. I have been reading your blog for what seems like forever. The joy shining out of all of you on this vacation is so amazing to see. I’m glad you guys had a great vacation!

  5. Beautiful family! Beautiful photos! I concur that the middle school years are the worst (I have a 6th grader).

  6. You have a beautiful family!!! So glad that you all enjoyed your trip!

  7. I’m so glad you got a chance to decompress. The photos are amazing! Frame worthy!

  8. I think that is exactly what the book is about…carving out spaces for joy in spite of all the obstacles that get in the way! So glad y’all had such a great time! Thanks for sharing…it inspired me to make the most of the few spring breaks I have left with my 16 year old at home.

  9. Love the photos!! Glad you had a nice vacation, Jamaica is the best.

  10. robinandamelia

    Glad you had a nice vacation!! Jamaica is the best!

  11. I loved following your vacation on Instragram. You all so deserved the amazing time you had. And I agree, all-inclusives for a family is the way to go. When we were planning our February break we asked the boys if they’d rather go to Hawaii or an all-inclusive in the Caribbean. Having done both options, they chose the all-inclusive, hands down.

  12. You would never know for those pictures that your darling Lucy has had a rough time. She radiates joy and confidence. I hope things are easier Being a teenage girl is so damn hard Being a 50 year old woman is no picnic either. That photo of the 5 of you on the beach is perfection.

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