“There’s just so much to talk about, but I think literally the happiest moment of my life is my son. I had my son before my sixteenth birthday, and I wasn’t afraid it was just more so thinking about what I’m gonna do now, how am I gonna take care of this kid, and I had to make a very conscious decision about wanting a different life for him that what I had, and so the happiest moment just had to be the focus I had when I was raising him. So it wasn’t just being a good parent, I wanted to have a child that didn’t have this chaotic lifestyle, I had to be more focused in my life, and my parenting, and making sure my life was together. I think lots of parents feel this way, but it really is watching him grow, and putting things into him has allowed me to grow. When I’m out in public and someone knows my son or has met my son, and then they are describing their relationship with my son whether it’s a five minute interaction or however long, and when they come back and tell me ‘you know your son is so awesome, so respectful, so great, he was this, that, or the other,’ THAT feels really really good for me because I’m happy all over again that I have this young man.
He’s almost 22 now, so he’s not this little boy anymore, but I would have not been so involved in community. I wouldn’t know what it means to serve other people and what it means to work in a way that’s consistent and conscious in my relationship building, so I can’t be all bad attitude with folks because that leaves an impact on them. The way I raise him and the way I interact with him, and then that’s how he goes out and that’s how he interacts with other people. So through my son I am always having these happy moments because I’ve learned how to be with other people and how to work with other people, how to put other people’s needs first. I get what I need out of it too, but I could have not come to this place without him.
I wasn’t expecting to have him, but now that I have him what am I going to do about it? At the time I was always in trouble, I was running away from home, I was fighting, so to have this child that I’m not responsible for and I have to figure out what to do and what I’m gonna do about myself.
And it’s my son that is continuously giving back to others, so it’s through him, through our continued relationship that I have learned how to be a better person, a better giver, a better supporter, a better server.
People teach us how to be better people overall, people are constantly teaching us, so he has been my happiest moment because what I have given to him has played out in other relationships. Being able to be his parent. Truly I think I would have been a totally different person had I not been his parent. I was that little jerk, but now watching him and getting to witness what you have done with him. You get to see it right upfront. He’s taught me to be more accepting, he has role modeled for me, so I can learn from him too. So it’s not all in me, it’s watching him. He’s always my happiest moment, because it’s always giving back.”
Madison Community Discourse is creating a platform for discourse. We are studying happiness to connect our city through experience. We are interviewing 200 people all over Madison to create a ‘portrait’ of happiness. If you are interested in being interviewed, please email madisoncommunitydiscourse [at] gmail.com.
To see the full portrait, please click here.
To participate anonymously, please click here.