I sup­pose we all hope for hap­pi­ness in our lives. We cer­tain­ly wish it for our children.

But hap­pi­ness is an intan­gi­ble thing. We see peo­ple laugh but are they real­ly hap­py? Can you be hap­py and nev­er smile or laugh?

For some years I have known a man who obvi­ous­ly appre­ci­ates life and his fam­i­ly. I have been a recip­i­ent of his gen­tle kind­ness in many ways.

The thing that makes me smile and feel hap­py the most is when he intro­duces me as “the moth­er of the ‘sons’ he didn’t have to raise”.

That means he loves my sons as his own. Hav­ing been to his recent 65th birth­day cel­e­bra­tion, where he was sur­round­ed by his fam­i­ly and many old friends, I could read­i­ly see why he is such a con­tent­ed and hap­py man. No doubt life hasn’t been all hunky dory but he brings spe­cial smiles to those he loves – he makes me happy.

We are also for­tu­nate to have as part of our fam­i­ly a large extend­ed and very lov­ing fam­i­ly of friends from Trinidad. We ‘adopted’ their soon to be son-in-law when he first came to this coun­try before he was mar­ried. He referred to us as Aun­ty and Uncle, much the same way as my sons affec­tion­ate­ly refer to my old­est friends in Eng­land – it’s not a cus­tom in the US but it reflects a con­nec­tion to ‘family’ which is very warm.

The young man from Trinidad must have spo­ken often to his friends about his Aun­ty and Uncle in the US. At the wed­ding gath­er­ing in Trinidad, which we so proud­ly and hap­pi­ly attend­ed and par­tic­i­pat­ed in ful­ly, one of the groom’s old­est friends intro­duced him­self to us say­ing “Please don’t mis­un­der­stand me, but it’s only on meet­ing you that I’ve dis­cov­ered you’re white”!!

We weren’t offend­ed at all because it told us that the groom had just seen us as ‘family’. Now we are so very hap­py and thank­ful to have two more young peo­ple as part of our ‘family’ in the US. Trinida­di­ans love to laugh and be hap­py togeth­er. Just being part of their lives is a won­der­ful bonus in life – it makes us happy.

Now I’ll leave you with a quote from A. S. Neill the author of “Summerhill, a Rad­i­cal Approach to Child Rear­ing” pub­lished in 1960. 

He is refer­ring to the hap­pi­ness of children:

“Free chil­dren have open fear­less faces; dis­ci­plined chil­dren look cowed, mis­er­able, fearful”

To me it quite sim­ply states the dif­fer­ence between what the lit­er­a­ture calls “neurotypical” and those on the autism spectrum.

Are your chil­dren happy? 

It’s right under your nose!