• Diane Mack: Keep happy within your heart

  • Today is the start of a new year. Most often the expression which is offered from one friend, to another, is Happy New Year.

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  • Today is the start of a new year.
    Most often the expression which is offered from one friend, to another, is Happy New Year.
    There are many meanings for happy, which could translate to be a party on New Year’s Day or eve.
    Although, Happiness has a variety of meanings.
    John Barrymore said “Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.”
    Benjamin Franklin acknowledged his thought on happiness with, “The U. S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.”
    Helen Keller stated, “Our success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”
    How happy are you? Do you want to achieve more happiness during 2013? I do.
    Last Saturday, I learned a lesson from my special needs’ daughter Kelsey.
    Kelsey has had many good friends come and go in her life. Some were incredible staff, who love Kelsey, as if she is their own.
    When staff or friends move on, I hurt for my daughter. The stable friends and family marry, go to college or simply move.
    This past weekend, Kelsey said goodbye to another staff, who is leaving to serve a mission for her church. Her name is Jade.
    Jade had the noon to four shift on Saturday. This would be Kelsey’s last time with her.
    Kelsey mentioned to me over and over again, “I won’t see Jade for a while.” She loves Jade.
    I reminded Kelsey that she would be fine, that I will always be with her and she will make new friends.
    Normally, a person in their 30s might be married and even have children. Kelsey is not and will not.
    By 36, I was having my seventh child, overwhelmed, and short on sleep. I didn’t have much time for friends back then. However, most of my friends did not move out of my life, where I might not see them again.
    Anyway, last Saturday was a great day for Kelsey. She was with her friend Jade and they were headed to do one of the things, which make Kelsey very happy.
    I’m going to quote from Kelsey’s Saturday case notes, written by Jade.
    “Kelsey got her walker fixed and mom got a special prayer. Kelsey did great sitting quietly. We talked in the kitchen while I made lunch. We ate and did puzzles rested on the couch and listened to music. We used the restroom and went to the mall.
    We got lost in Dilliard’s. Rode the merry-go-round. She loved it and was so excited. Got a pretzel from Auntie Anne’s. Left to go home. And got caught in rush hour mall traffic . . .”
    Page 2 of 2 - Kelsey loves merry-go-rounds. Jade knew that. Plus Kelsey loves Jade.
    This is real happiness.
    Nine disabilities, over 40 surgeries, and more challenges on a daily basis, than most see in a month, or two, would have a 36-year-old pretty sad. But Kelsey is not.
    Helen Keller is right. Kelsey has resolved to keep happy, and as a result, while facing multiple difficulties, she has remained happy by doing the simple things in life.
    Readers, if you are at the beginnings of your 2013 search for new happiness, take a friend and ride the merry-go round.
    Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County’s Family Week Foundation. Email her at Jacksoncountyfamilyweek@juno.com or visit www.jacksoncountyfamilyweek.org.