Once upon a time, before I was the shining example of serenity and balanced living that I am today, I had a slight little patience impediment. By that I mean I had none. I didn’t necessarily think this was a bad thing at the time, mind you. I saw myself as a hard working achiever who made things happen. Rarely would I accept an answer or an outcome I didn’t like and I prided myself at accomplishing any goals set before me. Even the dumb goals.
When life knocked me on my smug, burned out and (secretly) terrified ass, one of the first things I had to learn was that I was NOT actually in charge of the universe and acceptance DIDN’T mean failure. If you’ve ever seen the Wizard of Oz, Matrix or Dora the Explorer Visits the Enchanted Forest (if you’re my 4-year-old who I’m probably writing this for subconsciously) then you may have an inkling of how completely otherworldly my journey into acceptance and surrender was.
From a world where I constantly obsessed on envisioning all possible future scenarios and mitigating them, worked ceaselessly to managed what I thought other people’s perceptions of me were, denying any facts or observations that indicated I was anything other than the hero in my and everyone else’s story and where rest and failure simply were not allowed I had to learn that all these things were actually killing me, not making me successful.
This was not a truth easily embraced. For about a year I felt like I was constantly on the edge of losing all control of my life and….and what, I’m not sure, because all of the before-mentioned craziness wasn’t really reaping me anything positive and I had no control of anything in the first place. One day I was sitting in my apartment and the absolutely mind-blowing epiphany hit me that I could choose to be as happy as I imagined I’d be sitting on a beach on a tropical island, with the perfect mate, with a ridiculously huge sum of money in my bank account and skinny thighs…EVEN THOUGH I didn’t have any of those things! Hello, Oz, I’ll TAKE that green pill!
And so I was instantly cured.
Well, not quite. Every time I figured out the perfect way to do life and love it, something would be added onto my apple cart. First there was my sweet little rescue dog that only I loved, Freeway (may he rest in peace) and I had to learn to care for something other than myself on a regular basis. Fortunately, Freeway came before Dreamy and so I was able to be a decent enough girlfriend to get him to marry me. Then the Biscuit, followed soon by Frick and Frack (the twins).
I managed to hold on to my newfound knowledge FAIRLY well through my marriage, and some political deviousness on the work front, but my wonderful children have come close to undoing me. Even knowing what I know, and never wanting to go back to black and white Kansas again, I STILL find myself regularly assuming that I have some sort of control on how these magical little beings turn out.
When they are smart and clever and sweet and adorable, I catch myself swelling with pride about my stellar parenting (who knew I was so awesome at this? Maybe I should adopt a few more as a humanitarian gesture to Earth). Then, Bisky experiences threenager-hood for, like SEVEN YEARS even though she’s only four, and I immediately realize that I’ve completely ruined a person. I start peeping out the doors for ‘them’ to come take away my kids because I clearly suck as a parent or they wouldn’t be acting this way. I start worrying about how I’ll managed three separate prison visits weekly and whether saving for legal defense for the children is tax-deductible.
This all hit home like a pie in the face today when Bisky was sweet, helpful, loving and SHARED with BOTH brothers for the third day in a row! During the week of absolutely appalling behavior around birthday time, I had become convinced that it WASN’T just a stage after all and she had clearly inherited all my obnoxious qualities not to mention that my overcompensation for foisting twins on had ensured that she would be a social deviant forever. Now mind you, there is absolutely nothing I did any different from last week to this except hold on and continue hoping that she’d eventually decide to use her power for good again.
That’s when it clicked in that I have far, far less power over any them than I’d really like to believe. I’ve been trusted with everything I’ve got NOT because I’ll do it perfectly, but because I’ll do the best I can. It won’t be good enough at times and other times I’ll knock it out of the park. And they will experience success and failure that are completely out of my hands. And that, too is terrifying until I remember, again, that God doesn’t have any grandkids and that they will be just fine. Not because of me, not in spite of me…just with me. Sigh…Such a relief to have the weight of the world off my shoulders again!