It’s bedtime, in fact past bedtime, as usual, and my daughter lies in her little bed beneath her little duvet with little fairies embroidered on it. I have kissed her good night and moved next door to the room with the computer. There is a bit of rustling and then I hear her voice, clear and steady.
If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands!
Slowly, then quickly …
If you’re happy and you know it, andyoureallywanttoshowit,ifyou’rehappyandyouknowitclapyourhands!
Verse after verse of clapping hands, stamping feet, being happy.
Does it mean she’s happy? I think so. I’d like to think so. Does she know what happiness is? Do any of us? Is feeling loved happiness? Knowing someone else you love feels loved? I know that I am happy, listening to her at that moment.
Did the sad boy in the photo sing contentedly to himself as he fell asleep at night? I hope he did, at one time. I asked my mother who he was and she said she thought he was her half-brother. You can imagine he might have been a little sad, if you know the story. You can imagine she might have been sad if you know the story. Her father, one moment here, the next on a different continent. Then with a different family. There was a lot of sadness around, in those days. You were lucky if you weren’t gripped by it. You took happiness where you could find it; in small things, in minor, everyday, joys.
The singing has tailed off into thumb-sucking. A couple of moments later I peer through the doorway and her thumb has slipped from her lips. Her head is in profile, as if in silent communication with the gaggle of soft toys. The pillow is splashed by her milky-coffee curls. She looks content, serene; asleep in her little, happy, world.