Happiness: A State of well-being, contentment and joy

This is happiness. This was Jimmy: a twinkle in his eye, a huge smile, and windswept hair, still wet on the edges. He didn’t want to get out of the water for this photo shoot I had arranged with my photographer friend, Mary Pat Dorr. We had wanted to get some good shots of Jimmy and Jeff in the fall, for our holiday card. The kids were not excited about coming home from an Indian summer afternoon at the beach and posing in our back yard. As they sluggishly put on the “nice” outfits I had carefully laid out on their beds, I could hear them grumbling. I made them shower off the sand, peanut butter and jelly mustaches and cheetos dust on their faces, just for photos no-one would see until Christmas.

“Hurry up and come downstairs,” I called, not wanting to keep the photographer waiting. But she was happy, taking shots of our kitties and our late blooming sunflowers in the yard. As they slowly trudged down to the yard, I heard them talking about the beach and what a great day they had with their friends, boogie boards and picnic lunch.

We had timed the photo shoot for the light in the backyard and planned to shoot in color and black and white. As Mary Pat started to pose them on the benches, in front of the hibiscus plants, and running through the grass, I wondered why I had not thought to do the photo shoot at the beach. What was I thinking? The beach was our “happy place” and since we had moved from the east coast, the ocean called us daily. An hour went by, with so many pictures, and since nothing was digital, we would have to wait until we could see the slides to see how the myriad of poses and changes of outfits had turned out.

As I watched the two of them trying to muster up some enthusiasm for this process, I had an idea. “Hey guys,” I said, “what if we go back down to the beach for dinner as soon as we wrap this photo shoot up?” Since it would still be light, the water was silky and warm, and we had nothing else to do that night, it seemed like the perfect way to get a smile at the end of the session. Jimmy turned around with a gigantic smile on his tanned face, and that is when Mary Pat captured the moment. Going back to the beach! What could be better?

It gives me so much happiness and joy to remember this moment in time at 524. Two boys were in the backyard, counting the moments until they could return to the beach and the blue ocean that called them home.

I hope you have those moments on the International Day of Happiness and throughout your life. We didn’t have cell phones way back then. We had to wait a week or so to see the photo that I knew would be the winner. It was one of the last ones of the day. I hope you and your loved ones hold on to those moments of happiness and if you are lucky, you will have a memory to keep for the rest of your life.