How I Became “This Happy Mom” (part 3)

how i became this happy momThis is the third installment of my journey to become “This Happy Mom.”  So far I’ve figured out that happiness is (for me) a choice.  I’ve figured out how laughter and family help my find my happy place.

In the last installment, I was curled up watching Christmas classic movies and finally filled with contentment.  My husband and I had shared a good laugh (at our contractor’s expense) at the way I’d “decorated” our home during the remodel.  The little Charlie Brown Christmas tree was sooooo perfect perched atop a carpenter’s sawhorse.

When my family was around, I managed to find some level of happiness.  The noise and energy of my boys kept me distracted enough to forget all my worries.  But when the hotel room was empty, it was hard.  By 9 in the morning, I had finished every scrap of housework I could do in a hotel room.  Once dinner was in the crockpot (and lunches were packed for the next day) I was at a loss.

When you’re stuck in a hotel room because your house is messed up, don’t watch House Hunters.  Spending all day watching other people move into nice houses is not helpful. Trust me on this.

By mid-December, I had completed every bit of Christmas shopping.  I had planned our trip for Christmas.   There was nothing left on my Christmas to-do list other than teacher gifts.  So I opened the crafting supply box I’d grabbed from my house, hoping for some random stuff I could use for teacher gifts.

The box was filled with yarn.  It was crammed full of every shade of acrylic yarn left from my Grandmother’s plastic canvas projects.  It also held my crochet needles.  I hadn’t crocheted since GoGo was born.  (the stash got named amy – acrylic mystery yarn)

too many hats

I think I made all these on a Tuesday.

I sat down and started a granny square.  It felt good.  I googled ideas for small projects using scraps of yarn and found a pattern for a hat (it was Warm Winter Hat Crochet Pattern at Amazon if you’re curious).  I tried making one, then another, and another, and another.  I was obsessed with crocheting hats.   In three weeks time, I made approximately 50 hats and 10 scarves. As the yarn pulled gently through my fingers, I felt all the misery and bitterness and hurt being pulled gently from my heart.  With every stitch, I breathed a prayer.   With every finished hat, I felt a sense of accomplishment and validation.

I began to blog about my obsession with crocheting hats.  As I wrote, I poured out my heart.  I began the painful process of examining my feelings and healing from my time in the pit.   My husband (probably in response to the alarming yarn bill) gently suggested I look into selling some of my hats.  He even bought me a domain name for Christmas.

My kids gave me yarn for Christmas.  They asked me to drive them to Walmart and take them first to the gift bag area and then the yarn place.  I stood there with my eyes closed while the boys filled  gift bags with yarn.  I walked them to the checkout stand and closed my eyes while the checker scanned and bagged their purchases.  I happily paid for the yarn, hoping at least some of it was usable.

Looking back, I can see that crochet filled a huge need for me during that season.  All of my needs to create, be creative, feel useful, and be productive were being met.  It forced me to be still and quiet.  It helped make me open the curtains to let light in during those first tentative days out of the pit.

christmas morning with the disco tree

Disco tree behind the kids. Note the hideous hotel carpet! Nasty.

I still crochet, although not as much during the summer.  It still fills much of the same needs.  When my emotions are strong and my heart is troubled, I’ve learned to pick up my yarn and hook.

My photos from Christmas morning are from our Houston hotel room, opening presents in front of the disco Christmas tree.  The hideous hotel carpet features prominently in our Christmas morning photos and it clashes horribly with their Christmas PJ’s.   We gave the boys small gifts, plus a big trip.  After opening presents, we loaded most of our things into storage and checked out of the hotel.  We drove to New Mexico and introduced the boys to snow.  I crocheted all the way there and back.  I have wonderful photos of my boys in the snow wearing hand-crocheted hats and scarves.

God was right.  My kids had the kind of Christmas I chose for them to have.  I chose one that was rich on experiences, love, and laughter.  I chose one that made us happy.

Stayed tuned for the next installment.  I’ll tell you all about seeing a naked man in a hotel room (and he wasn’t my husband).

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. I love the story and the inspiration! Do you still make and/or sell the hats? If you do, I’ll take one in an 18months-2 yrs size! We live in sunny Southern California and it is July still, but it is never too early to buy Christmas gifts!

    • i still make hats, and i’d love to sell a few. i’m about to need a yarn storage closet! can you give me an idea what you are looking for? size? color? something in cotton? or wool?

      • Husband says:

        This is Susan’s husband. Yes, she is selling them.

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          ROFL!!! Well hi, Susan’s Husband. You say that the same way mine says “Yes, she’s selling books.” (Not meaning the ones I wrote, but the ones that are overflowing from the bookshelves.) Nice try. Of course, I might need a jaunty, purple beret. Oh, seriously, who NEEDS a jaunty, purple beret? Susan, do you crochet berets?

          • he bought me a domain name for christmas. it’s set up with everything except a shopping cart. i just need to take photos and i can start selling stuff.

            but for you… a purple crocheted beret is easy. light lavender, or dark “i will wear purple” purple. or maybe something a little brighter… almost a shade of raspberry.

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