Sunday, October 16, 2011

What's So Bad About Contentment

"Awww your baby is so sweet. I've never so much as heard her cry! You're so lucky!" 

"Yes, we are blessed that she's so content." 

You look over at the baby, sitting on the floor surrounded by toys, drool strand dangling and ready to add itself to the small puddle beneath her pudgy little legs. She isn't laughing or crying. She's just chewing on a teething ring and staring at her vast collection of cool and colorful belongings. That baby is truly content. 

image from

When did I stop wanting to be content? Why is it so great for babies, but when I could find contentment myself I push it away and opt instead to search for happiness? I look at many of those married for years and see contentment by the boat load. It's working for them, yet when it's offered to me I say things like, "I want to be with someone I am happy with and who is happy with me. I don't want to be with someone who is merely content to be with me. That would feel like I could be anyone. I want to be happy." 

That's exactly what I said last night. I spent my late evening talking to someone who seemed set on convincing me that we should just "give it a try". He could really see himself being "content" with me. It was a striking comment for me because I'd had a conversation Friday about that very thing. In my head it seems to make sense, but in my heart it falls flat. It feels cold. There's not a single shred of desire for contentment.  

Yesterday my daughter informed me that she's engaged. I won't mock this because I remember that feeling. It's a fairy tale waiting to happen. They plan to marry in a few years when they've completed school. Things are tough right now, but together they will make it through. They have the world at their feet. I didn't bring them down with statistics. I didn't say, "Well what will you do when you have a baby, and he realizes he has to sell his bike because you can't put a baby on the back of a Harley?" I didn't say anything like that at all, because they are happy. 

She's eighteen and he's nineteen and they are in love. It's not that I haven't done my mandatory guiding. I have. They are both children of divorce. They know how it could workout... for everyone except them that is. And as much as I worry for their hearts, as much as I want to say WAIT, I hold back now and I let them enjoy being happy. 

Right now she looks like this... and it's hard to argue with that. 


Linda Medrano said...

She's gorgeous! It's funny, I was the product of a divorce and so was my children's father. We divorced, I remarried and divorced again. My children married young, my daughter at 20, my son at 24. They are both still married to their spouses and it seems likely they will continue that way. You just never know, Angie.

Left Coast Guy said...


You're a good mom. You know the "truth" behind young love, know what it feels like, and wish it to last for anyone who feels it. Beyond a healthy concern for your daughters well being, you would rather allow her the feeling for as long as it may last. Who knows, maybe they will be luckier than some.

It has been my experience that while we can drag our children to the truth we can't make them see it. The chances are excellent that they would not believe you if you told them the statistics of these relationships or any relationship for that matter. I know I wouldn't have. Its something that can only be appreciated in first person.

I wish them happiness always. Contentment can just bite my ass.


Miss Sassy Pants said...

I hope it works out in a positive way, whether they stay together or not.

When I was 18, I thought I was going to marry my high school sweetheart. Now that I am 22, I realize the best thing I ever did for myself was end that relationship.

It's different with every individual.

notactuallygod said...

Statistics? Meaningless to a heart in love.

You can warn them, it's our duty anyway, but we're mostly just making ourselves feel better about having said it. They must make their own mistakes, it's part of the learning curve.

I once told some kids they could have anything they wanted, except fruit from this ONE tree. What do you think they did?

Angie said...

I agree. I can't know the future. I wish them the very best of luck and hope that they find their way. Stranger things have happened.

I want them to be happy, even if it's fleeting. Some people will never feel it. I will also do my best to guide them and help them if they need me. Even if it's as nothing more than a sounding board.

Thanks and I remember being in the same position. That's why I am just letting them work things out on their own. I have said all I can and now it's up to them.

Damn kids! LOL

Juliette said...

I know what you mean Angie, contentment doesn't seem enough; it's not powerful or amazing its just a comfy cardigan and a pair of slippers. Go for happy!

Paula said...

Kids have to figure those things out for themselves, we do the best we can and then let them go, I wish her the best of luck!

Anonymous said...

Wow, 18 & 19. Godspeed.

And that's a pretty decent week for your daughter, eh? New job and a fiance all at the same time. Good for her. I hope she can stay happy. Life happens to us way too fast. Mazel Tov to her.

You will want to keep some tissues handy and have your crying shoulder ready just in case mom. Just in case.

Jen said...

I would give my left tit to stop being so cynical about "til death do us part", but I am yet to see it come to fruition. Blessings to your daughter, and good job, Mom. :)

Azra said...

May I? I think you're so used to having to "deal" with some or other thing in your life that you may not know "how" to be content. When people have traumatic lives (using the term lightly)... they become used to the drama surrounding that and it's difficult to live without issues or something to fret about.
I read this the other day : "We don't just want to be "happy"... we want to be happier than others... or happier than what we THINK other's are. When in fact, they aren't that happy either."

Or maybe you just haven't met someone worth your contentment eh? Only you know hun :)

PS. Congrats to your daughter. May she find joy wherever it is she seeks it and may the harsh realities of life leave her unfazed, unscathed and untainted.

wagthedad said...

You ARE a great mom. I just can't imagine, not yet. I have at least ten years or so left, I hope, before I have to think about that.

Your "contentment" thing made me sad, though. Maybe it's because fall and winter always make me sad, but I am sorry (I think) that someone said "I could be content with you," because I would hate it if someone said that to me.

Gloriously happy. You make me so mad I could shit nails. We're always going to be turbulent, but I'll always be there for you.

Commitment is OK. Contentment...hmmm..

Fred Miller said...

Been in that "flat feeling." The kind when you feel cold whenever somebody gets close. Went on about fifteen years no matter how hot, how intelligent or how rich the girl was. It has it's postive feature: You learn to keep your sense of humor regardless how you feel inside. It's a desert, but it is finite.

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