The Very Happy Caterpillar

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Photo by Alain Wong

I was all set to write about how a good cry sometimes makes me happy. (Kinda like when you’re sick and you feel much better after vomiting.) Hearing Adele, Sia or Sara Bareilles pour out a heartbreaking song can do that trick.

Or, write about how I started posting statuses about what made me happy at the moment. Things like: [late-night laughing my face off with wife]. And I’d tag them “‪#‎mysimplethings‬” so I could go back and get all weepy/mushy. (Steal this idea if you want, but get your own hashtag.)

But, last week ended on kind of a down note for me. I had written a post and shopped it around. A lot. No one seemed to want it. I let myself get a little mopey, yet I kept writing:

  • On Monday, I wrote song lyrics that my friend Mike then composed music to for the February Album Writing Month ( challenge.
    but he was still hungry.
  • On Tuesday, I submitted two short plays I wrote to an upcoming New York City festival. (Read one of them on Medium.)
    but he was still hungry.
  • On Wednesday, a story I wrote — and was very happy with — broke the 1,000-views mark for me!
    but he was still hungry.
  • On Thursday, another story I wrote posted, also got 1K AND hit the Top Stories!
    but he was still hungry.
  • On Friday, I wrote a short story and ideas for about 5 other things.
    but he was still hungry.

THEN, Saturday came and so did my REAL reason to be happy.

A few weeks back, my wife discovered a show based on Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar and a couple of his other stories. (See him read it here.) The show uses music and puppets! (Fact: puppets make everyone happy.) It was perfect for our daughter who just turned two (you may love her work). My wife joked about how excited I was:

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I WAS excited! I mean, come on:

  • My wife and I were both theatre majors.
  • I write plays. (You read the one on Medium yet?! Everyone’s doing it.)
  • I’ve been in shows since I was in grade school.
  • I worked at Playbill almost 10 years so I nearly lived on & Off- Broadway.
  • Did I mention the puppets?

This was kind of a big deal for me.

So Saturday was the show! My daughter was such a sweetheart; getting all bundled up to go into the city, she sang and talked up a storm the whole ride in and was just pretty great otherwise (read: she let mommy and daddy hit Starbucks before the show). Show tip: read the book before you go, kids are terrible about shouting out spoilers.

Now, I’ve already mentioned my tendency to “get all weepy/mushy.” It’s probably hereditary from mom’s side. After every movie we watched as a family: my dad offered his standard review, “That’s a piece of junk!” and my mom recreated Niagara Falls on her face. So add my mom genes (hehe) to: my nostalgia for the years of regularly seeing shows + whatever hormones men acquire during pregnancy. (It’s science, look it up. It’s not.) Yeah:

Seeing my daughter in a theatre seat between mommy and daddy—all ready for her first show—nearly imploded me. No tears streamed down my face, but the wells of my eyes ran as deep as they could.

The next day was Sunday again…

Bonus happy! After a number of weeks of trying, she finally did “poopy in the potty!” Let’s recap things making me happy: crying, getting weepy, writing after rejection, puppets, theatre and poop. Yup, sounds about right.

…and after that he felt much better.

Honorable happy mentions go to fellow Medium writers who made me more happy after reading their work:
Ashley Daigneault’s “Be As You Are
Nate Otto’s “The Perils of… Working from Home
Amanda Dickson’s “Let’s Discuss Our Followers
All so honest and real and true (for me) that they struck a chord.

AND, all of the above would not measure up to the happy I feel every day—since the day I met my wife (or two years later when we first kissed) — knowing that she is with me. She is: All the words. You make me…

…a beautiful butterfly.

…er, I mean happy. [#‎mysimplethings]

Happiness Weekly is a glimpse into what makes each of us happy. To share your story of happiness contact Happiness Weekly or respond below.

Read Devon Henry’s story of happiness: I Took a Walk.

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Writer-Artist ✍ Contact: →in New Yorker: Find @ernio_art →on Instagram: License →via

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