Friday I took my kids to McDonalds and bought them a happy meal. They had been stinkers that morning and I sure didn't feel like they deserved a happy meal. The rare times that we grab fast food they usually get a burger and a water, for the same reason that my parents did that when I was a kid-- it's more economical
So my ornery self was saying they didn't even deserve to eat out let alone get a happy meal, but my inner child that always hoped for, but rarely got the meal with the toy, championed in favor of surprising the kids with a treat specifically in the moment of time when they least deserved it because my grinch-like heart needed to grow a few sizes (wow that was a long sentence).
The moment I placed the order at the drive-through I did feel a lightness and a release of the ogre. My children were so excited and in disbelief- really, we get a happy meal.
Although we went through the drive through I then parked the car and we ate at the tables outside.
It was a balmy 93 degrees (and yes that is sarcasm you detected in my voice about the balmy bit-sweltering is the more accurate term) and we were going to eat in the car on the way to the library, but instead of soft drinks I ordered milk for the kids, which comes in bottles with twist off lids, which is 10 times more likely to get spilled in the car and I had visions of the mess and frustration that would ensue. So that is why we sat outside to eat, in 93 degree weather in Florida, which really feels like about 108 degrees. In about five minutes of sitting outside we were dripping sweat and had red faces.
But all of that is a long tangent from the main story. After we got sat down one by one each of the kids came to me and gave me a big hug and told me I was the best mom ever and how could they ever repay me.
They were obviously experiencing the happy effect of the happy meal and I was enjoying being the recipient of their happiness.
Here is the ironic part. When I buy my kids just the hamburger they eat it all and sometimes they want another.
Somehow when you put the hamburger in a box and include a toy, the burger and their hunger is forgotten and maybe they will take a token bite or two. This confirms my theory that it is not the toy that comes for free with the food, it is actually the food that comes for free with the toy you paid for.
I told the girls they had to eat their food before they could open their toy. The boys are old enough that they usually eat all their food and don't get quite as sidetracked by the toy.
Charlie opened his spy toy from the package and saw that it wasn't the toy he was hoping for. He asked if he could go trade it and I told him he could. When he came back out with the trade he opened it and was still disappointed with what he got.
By this time the girls had eaten their token bites and were grabbing for their toy. I was so hot and ready to get back in the air conditioned car that I didn't really notice how much they had or hadn't eaten.
However, I did notice Becca's reaction to her toy- pure disappointment. I didn't let her go trade her toy- more disappointment.
Which brings us to the title of the post--how happy is happy.
Well, when you are relying a happy meal to bring you happiness you better be prepared for disappointment because happiness from a box is fleeting and short lived.
Thankfully we know where true happiness comes from--the giver of all love and life and we will turn to Him for our daily joys and for our everlasting happiness.