I’ve come across the question, “What is happiness?” in a few places in the past couple of weeks. In general, I like simple things: spending time with family, a good book, a wee relaxing drink at the weekend. There are times when I look forward to something because it’s different or not the norm. At holidays and Christmas time I always get as excited as I did when I was a child. But that got me to thinking about other times in my life when money was tight and things were hard and the excitement was definitely tinged with worry.

I spent a few years as a lone parent, which were lean times, and then there was the time a month before our wedding when my hubby got paid off. I thought I would look back on those times and find no happiness in there, but that was not the case. Yes it was hard and there were days I’d rather forget, but I started to think about the effort we made to have special days with kids and to manage with what we had.

There were great times in there, yes there were. The “mum and boy nights” that we had with free videos from the library and a bowl of crisps. The thrown-together picnics we had in the local park to feel as if we were on holiday, and the years holidaying in a borrowed caravan all have great memories for us now. Some of the best times we have had, actually. I wonder if it is to do with the effort that was put in to make things fun. Of course, there could be that rose-tinted view on things, but I do believe that sometimes simple and uncomplicated times can be pure happiness. We continue as a family to make these happy memories, but I am glad that the hard times were not all bad and I feel that is a gift we have given our boys to take through their lives.

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