never stops teaching.
Journaling for awareness. Growing for life.
I was having an off day. It started with all three kids whining for juice and waffles at 6am, as I struggled to find the matching tops to the sippy cups, my eyes not yet fully open. When Kevin left he said, “Thanks for taking such great care of our babies.” But when I got frustrated with Keegan (now three and a half) for not making it to the potty in time, I wondered just how great of a job I was doing. When I finally got Keegan off to his morning summer camp, a mother on the playground pointed out that I’d put Brennan’s shoes on the wrong feet. And when I tried leaving with the little man, he screamed horrific protests, causing several parents to run over to make sure he hadn’t been hurt. There’s nothing quite like a public temper tantrum to rattle a mama’s nerves.
By 10am it was brought to my attention that something thoughtful I’d try to do for a family member had backfired, and by noon I still hadn’t heard back from a friend I’d called five days before. I was feeling pretty blue about all of it. Was mercury in retrograde? Or was I just fumbling all over the place? Perhaps I hadn’t done anything wrong, but it sure felt like I couldn’t do anything right. I knew I was putting one foot in front of the other, but it sure felt like I was moving backwards.
After lunch I watched how Brennan was completely uninhibited – moving from one focused, playful activity to the next, guided by his curiosity and his heart, unconcerned with what others were doing. I wanted to take a page out of his book. I knew my feelings of uncertainty were intensified by the fact that I was about to go out with my book proposal to my top choice publisher. I was second-guessing myself. Was it good enough? Was it ready? Was I ready?
There was an American psychologist, Abraham Maslow, who said, “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What one can be, one must be.” I think the risk in putting ourselves out there – in getting out of bed before our eyes are open, in putting our hearts on the line – all comes down to taking a chance at living full out. “What one can be, one must be!” It’s about finding a way to give it all we got, even if we don’t always get the shoes on the right feet every time.
At dinner that night Adeline was excited about what I was serving. She hugged me tight and told me, “You’re such a nice mommy.”
“Thanks, Adeline,” I said, hugging her back, “I try.”
“You don’t have to try,” she said, “You’re perfect.”
“Oh baby, you’ll learn. I’m far from perfect,” I responded.
She thought a moment and then said, “Well, you’re perfect for me.”
And I had to swallow the large lump in my throat.
Adeline seemed to confirm the journey for me. As a writer, as a mother, as a woman, I’m not always going to get everything right. But sometimes I get a reminder that I’m RIGHT where I’m supposed to be. And no matter what comes next, this is the journey that is “perfect for me.” Because this is where I come to discover all that I can be. It is where I am shown how to be at peace with myself.
I heard back from my friend before the day ended. She hadn’t gotten my voice mail. Maybe mercury really was in retrograde. But at last I could be sure that I was moving forward.