From the Mouths of Babes
By Jordyn Paradis Hagar
One day a couple months ago, my two and a half year old looked me right in the eye and said, “Mommy, I’m happy to see you.” I felt my heart skip a beat, and warmth and joy consumed my entire body. What a pure and simple statement; so heartfelt, honest, and genuine. So unencumbered by anything else: no strings, no grudges, no passive aggressive nuances. Just here, now, “I am happy to see you.”
She says this statement often now, always to express her genuine, pure, and simple emotion: “I am happy to see you.” And I love it. I love it as a parent, and I love it as a human being. I also, interestingly, have come to love it as a medical spouse.
So often in our medical relationships, we get caught in all the noise. There are past resentments, present resentments, anticipated future resentments. There are disappointments, anxieties, and frustrations. When our medical partner walks through the door at the end of the day, how often is our first interaction loaded with something beyond simple joy to see one another? “It’s about time you’re home…” “You can’t believe the day we’ve had…” “I need you to…”
How often in our minds are we keeping score, trying to one up in order to prove our own difficulties and struggles? How often do we spend our limited time together in conflict about our limited time together when in reality we just want to enjoy that time together?
I find when I start my interaction with what I mean, “I am happy to see you,” the rest follows more kindly. My perspective shifts. I am nicer. Our home is less tense. We become more empathetic. We laugh more. I am in the present, and I am focused on the part that is most important. That doesn’t mean issues don’t come up; they just don’t need to be present at all moments, polluting every interaction every day. When we are “happy to see each other” we are on the same team, trying to solve the issues together.
I also find it helpful in my other relationships. Because of medicine, we live further away from friends and family than we would prefer right now. When I am able to shift my perspective to “I am happy to see you” instead of “I don’t like that I don’t get to see you more,” I more thoroughly enjoy my time with my friends and family. I am present, and I am living it; I am focused on the parts that are most important.
I now say this simple phrase a lot: to my daughter, to my husband, to my family and friends. It is the truth. It is the present. It is without pretense and expectation. It is simple and yet so very profound. Who doesn’t want to hear this message? Right here, now, in this moment, “I am happy to see you.”
(Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in November 2014.)
Jordyn Paradis Hagar is a licensed clinical social worker doing therapy with children and families. She is also the proud mother to two daughters. She published her first book At Least You’ll Be Married To A Doctor in February 2012.