Real conversation that happens multiple times on some days for me, in-person and online…it happened just this weekend too:
Person: “How is life? Are you happy in Belgium?”
Me: “Yes, very happy. Everything’s great!”
Person: “Oh, really? But…”
Usually that last question ends in a list of any number things about my life before I moved to Belgium.
Can you imagine someone questioning your happiness directly? Maybe you can but I never justify questions like that with anything but a smile. There’s no need for me to indivdiually address unhappy people’s buts and concerns about my happiness anyway, when I can do it in a blog, and this makes me happy. See what I did there? I found my own sliver of happiness.
It took me a while to figure out that the person asking the question wasn’t being intentionally rude or hostile but simply blunt and tactless. Like because I picked up and moved and had a child in a new country with a different language and lifestyle, Belgians and Americans, men and women alike doubt my happiness. Mine.
But said person has probably only dreamt of living in New York or working on Wall Street or winning Big Brother or whatever it is that’s seemingly more important than what I’ve been doing the last few years. Not much else was or is more important to me since I moved to Belgium, than my husband and son and the start of our new family. It’s not like I can rewind and fix things or stuff Noah back up into my womb and re-birth him. Ew. No. I took my start of a new life and committed to it 100% to start a family the right way, being the way that works best for us. Just in the nearly 3 years I’ve been married myself I’ve seen dozens of couples break up or divorce in all stages of their relationships because they didn’t ultimately find what worked for them.
I committed 100% to staying at home just like some mothers commit to working full-time or serving their country or whatever their personal decision. This means my husband Davy committed 100% to being the sole bread winner. Nothing is as glamorous as it’s photo-shopped to be.
I know that Davy has conversations like the one I shared above but even worse, Davy actually hears worse and gets questioned more. Belgium isn’t so different from America in that families with a stay-at-home parent isn’t commonly-practiced and especially not in times of economic eruptions. Still, it’s nobody’s fucking business how and how long I stay at home to care for Noah and Davy. Perhaps it’s easier for me to say this since I’m not Davy and I realize I’m harder and colder than Davy, when dealing with rude nosy people. I know it affects Davy more than it does me. I wish people would mind their own life decisions instead of asking about ours.
But I bet Noah would, if he could, chime in a declaration of his own happiness. But he doesn’t have to. It’s visible and palpable. So why wouldn’t I be happy? It’s probably because I have lived so many different dreams that I’m content to right now watch Noah daydream by day and because I know there are days ahead where I’ll be doing others things, as Noah’s daydreams start to become realities themselves.
For now all I can say is that some people need to just find their own happiness. I’ll be referring them to the link to this blog in the future.
And don’t you worry about what my future looks like because I’ll be sure to let you know anyway.