Who grew up with their parent, coach, or teacher incessantly soapboxing them with this mantra: “Failure is not an option”? Who heard it playing on loop every time you tried something new, afraid to fall, to get cut and bleed, to find out you did not have the skill set, and needed to choose what was behind door number three (hundred), instead? You, in the back—ME, TOO.
I fully admit that I have been in one continual lather-rinse-repeat failure cycle on several essential elements of my daily life during the 44.9014367 days we’ve been distancing together, and it’s gotten to the point where I’ve noticed my shoulders in a continual slouch mode, indicative of my feeling of disaster. It’s “Little Fiascos Everywhere” at Cobb Manor.
“I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I am not enough. Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up. Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low? Remind me, once again, just who I am, because I need to know.”-Lauren Daigle, “You Say”
I am a person who thrives on lists, so here’s the running ticker tape of what I’ve failed at recently:
B) Patience With My Children (and, tbh, myself)
**Spouse-ing. I have been working to show more love, and less worry to my husband, so he knows he’s valued and that his family loves him. He leaves every morning to supervise a ghost town of an airport, and does his best to take care of us for the remainder of his day. I know that I should be finding new ways to cherish him, not simply give him the play-by-play of my little fires and then discussing the growing honey-do list until it’s time to close up shop for the night. I am trying to maximize this time we don’t normally have, but it’s exhausting. He has a handy knack of making me laugh more than anyone else, and I see him as my anchor in a storm, clinging to what is good and real. He deserves the best me I can be for him.
**Patience with my children. I look into the golden yellow eyes of my sensitive daughter, who truly misses school and her sweet sproutling friends, and I remember that we all skate on the same thin ice of uncertainty these days. Homeschooling has been a rollercoaster for us, fraught with technology woes, feelings of inadequacy (on her part) when learning a new concept, but she will survive and continue to thrive, even if I’m bad at being the perfect Ms. Frizzle for her some days. My son’s earth-brown eyes search for me in the difficulty of growing pains, and I can see that he needs comfort, too; I struggle with the weight of my mistakes in mothering, but he always flourishes a sweet, tiny smile because he knows I need his sunshine.
**Self-care. I have leaned into my devotional time in the mornings (minus a few days lately), clutching my hot Early Gray tea as a soothing device, but beyond that, I have not tried my best to carve out time for me. I wear so many hats these days, and for just one day a week, I need them all to be removed so I can let my hair hang free. I miss being able to read books I want to hungrily consume, having an uninterrupted hot bath, a long phone call with my best friend. I love to-do lists and schedules as much as the next OCD-prone woman, but I need to dial it back so I can repair me. That should be at the top of the list, because, when we do finally return to humanity, I don’t need to be the broken down soul by the side of the road.
Failure is an option, just not a permanent one. I have always believed that valuable lessons come from not succeeding the first (or second) time. Sometimes that failing stings. I must remind myself, when the shadow of doubt hangs upon my weary soul, that there is still HOPE; it springs up like the early buds in a frozen ground.
Here’s how I know it’s true: yesterday morning, after a particularly rough set of days, my big girl found me clinging to my pillow, shutting my eyes tight to the morning sun, a tear staining my cheek. This was, of course, the result of a domino effect of days without rest, so emotions were higher. She asked me what was wrong. I told her that I was sorry to have let a few temporary hurdles overwhelm us. I told her that I felt like a failure, and had been trying the best I could to be mother, teacher, and everything in between, but to no avail.
As quick as a bolt of lightning, her unflinching hope pierced me.
She said to me: “Mama, today is a new day. You get to start again.”
I let it sink in.
Then, I replied, “You’re a smart girl.” A tiny smile crinkled at the corner of my eyes.
Her reply: “You are, too.”
She wiped my tears and in that tiny affirmation, she had hit my reset button.
No matter what little fiascos you are experiencing day-to-day, take comfort in the truth that no failure is truly final.
“Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.”-Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables-
Then, find hope.
~Kindred Spirit~ 4.29.20