On happy endings on Shalavee.com

I really have no expertise when it comes to happy endings. Miserable endings I could script out perfectly for you though. So when it was suddenly clear to me as a new parent that I was responsible for shading the outlook of the world for my children. When interpreting what they see in movies or read in books, I was responsible for translating the foreshadowing and inferences that would clue my children in to the upcoming plot twists. Life itself needs interpretation for us to decide how it’s going. I knew there were some storytelling rules that I needed to lay down for them.

The number one rule is that there will always be happy endings in everything I allow them to see. How quickly I realized as I watched my first toddler that he was so susceptible to the change in music and feeling of the videos we were watching. And that it was up to me to protect him and make him feel safe. My sister tells the story about how she was traumatized by watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer when she was small. I explained to my son that I would never allow for him to be ambushed by a story gone wrong. And when Fiona was beginning to watch Friday night movies with us, I explained the same to her.

On happy endings on Shalavee.com

This concept has alerted me to how even the world news, easily seen by the children of families who feel news is acceptable to broadcast without censoring, can be very jarring to them. I filter it out because even I have been jarred by it. And this is how we grew up. Today, the more scintillating news and tv sells the advertisement spots. Because when we forget the television and film industry is for profit, we forget to guard ourselves.

My generation grew up thinking there were no happy endings. And yet we crave them more than anything. We’ve seen more strife and believe that this is the norm. We were robbed of the happy safe bubble I am trying to give my children. Because eventually and inevitably, they’ll come to understand that yes, there is strife and inequality. But that’s all in good time. It’s up to us to decide how un-sucky their childhoods are before they get to the age of reason.

I have had to create a new space in my head for the possibilities of happiness that I never had before. It’s a type of faith to assume that even though you’ve never felt it and lived it, it still may be possible. I have had a week’s plus worth of days where events went smoothly without crisis and full of kindness and fun with my family. I very intentionally molded those days as such based on a hunch that this was a possible way of living, of being happy. And my hunch was correct. 20 years ago, I might have said that sounded nice but I wouldn’t have believed it was possible. Today I can say it is. And that is happy ending enough.

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