I can hear them in the morning- my daughter and my husband giggling. It is their new routine. Down the hall. Around six AM. The light from the mudroom reaches down the hall to my squinting eyes where I lie in my bed, lacking the morning motivation to join them. I satisfy myself with simply listening to them. She giggles because she is delighted and he because he is delighted she is delighted. If our dog, Ellie, could she would probably also be giggling.
What happened was this. A few days ago when a cranky fifteen month old, battling teeth, a nasty cold, the frustrations of developmental frustrations of learning to walk and talk, pointed at the dog treats and then laughed uproariously when we let her give one to Ellie. And soon it was ‘Ma! Ma!’ (This actually means 'more' in Hadley speak. And sometimes it means 'Mama'.). And we let her give another one because she wasn’t crying. And anther one. And another one. And then a quick return to a waterworks when, for the sake of Ellie’s health and heart, we called it quits at ten or so treats. For the rest of the day, she would not pass the bowl of dog treats without asking, “Ma!” and pointing. So when dinnertime came around, Seth took Hadley to the mudroom where she gave Ellie her dinner. One piece of kibble at a time. Each delivery was punctured by a squeal of delight. Ellie waited patiently as some pieces made it to the bowl and some were dropped en route. Her patience likely paid off as Ellie’s normal measuring scoop was never used and the game went on for quite some time no doubt allowing for more than the usual two scoops. And now this is what they do. At 6am and 6pm. Seth and I were happy. Happy that our little girl was not focused on her aching teeth, her fear of falling while walking, her frustration at not being able to communicate what she means but more than all that, happy that she gets pleasure from making another happy. And all this from a few pieces of dog kibble.
It got me to thinking and, while I will concede that Ellie is a lab and they are a breed famous for their piggy ways and food driven behavior, it occurred to me just exactly the extent that food can give pleasure- that it extends from simply making a fantastic dinner for someone you love, bringing someone a treat at work to brighten their day, making someone their favorite kind of cookies to babies and doggies and adults alike. And the fun part is that it spreads. The one who consumes the food is happy but the giver is also happy and because of those things, those watching the whole thing experience some of that good vibe. Happiness begets happiness.
I offer you a challenge. Use food to make someone happy. Be as simple or as elaborate as you wish. When you’re done, tell me about it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to know. This will make me happy.