My sisters have read Option B in the past few months, and I currently have the family copy of it. I’ve gotten a third of the way in, but, while I objectively find it very interesting and useful, I have struggled to pick it up and finish it. It is a hard read if you have recently been through loss or trauma. It is a good read. I am very tired most nights, and don’t have the gumption for it.
One thing that struck me when reading was an assertion from a researcher that net happiness is a product of frequency of events/instances/interactions rather than magnitude. That one magical day is less happiness-inducing than several mostly happy days over a longer interval. That a big gesture carries as much weight as a small one, and the small ones win if there are more of them. This hit home, thudded into my chest with impact. I’ve tried over the past few months to keep it in mind. For me, for Pea, for my father, for my family. I send pictures more frequently, to everyone even though it means taking three pictures and sending three emails to accomplish it (two photos through apps, one real one, the real one disseminated). I try to reply to every email my father sends. Every time I’m in the hospital watching him dictate, I remember how tricky it really is, how long his update missives take him to compose, what the words “dictation isn’t going smoothly so I’ll sign off” really mean – an hour of barking at a microphone that is willfully ignoring him, mis-clicking, mis-deleting. I’m trying to make sure I make Pea smile every day, and not always with a story about Spud. I’m mostly failing to carve out happy things for me, but I’m eating more candy because I like candy a lot, so that’s working for now.
I spent the past few days in Capital City with Pea and Spud. We spent one day in the hospital visiting my dad with Spud corralled in our large playpen, two days in my dad and step-mother’s backyard hanging out and BBQing meals and playing games and pulling leaves out of Spud’s mouth*, and one day in the tiny French Canada town where my grandmother lives. The trip was notably easier with Pea in tow, not least because his relationship with my step-mother is largely unstrained, where I am struggling. Also, upping the ratio of adults:babies always makes for an easier trip.
Having Spud meet his great-grandmother was something I’ve wanted to happen for some time, and she was very delighted (and he seemed to be too!). I am sure that neither of them would remember the day if we asked them about it today – Spud’s not really into the long-term memory aspect of life yet, and my grandmother is sadly past it. It was important to me, but hard to justify when squeezing trips into my schedule, or when traveling alone. I’m so glad I made the time though, and it made me very happy indeed.
* the hospital has waived their concerns about liability and now allows my dad out of the ICU with only his wife as “staff”, which is a massive improvement for both his day to day life and the ease of visits with babies.