Wednesday's lunch was rough. Broccoli seemed to be flying everywhere and Milo was repeatedly dropping his blue sippy cup of milk off of the ledge of his high chair table, generously spattering bubbles of sticky fluid on the wood floor that comprises his messy, ever-increasing domain. A domain I had, not two hours earlier, vacuumed and mopped. Labor made obsolete in seconds by two tiny hands and a healthy lunch.
The mess had nothing to do with what made lunch so tragic. What had actually sent me careening off course was the presence of that devil-headed bane of humans everywhere:
It set upon me like a guided missile, all of a sudden and seemingly out of nowhere, with a bang.
I rarely cry. It is something of a point of pride for me, which I’m discovering is 1) prideful, 2) a little barbaric, and 3) more than a little graceless. Well, while I was attempting to ladle mounds of blueberry yogurt into my son’s yammer, I was completely. losing. it.
And he thought it was laugh-out-loud hilarious. Point, Milo.
Backstory: I had booked an appointment at an optometrist. They had an opening due to a cancellation the next day, and it was -gasp- on the exact day that my hubs was taking off – a miracle! No need to inconvenience anyone [except my husband, again...]! Huzzah! I had been putting off the eye doctor for awhile, which I think was starting to drive Craig nuts, since I was talking about it every other day, and this opening seemed like providence.
Could I make it?
It felt like I’d won the lottery.
Until I realized that I didn’t know what day it was. This took place on Wednesday. Which I failed to realize. Or rather, that my appointment was the next day, on Thursday. Which is not the same as Friday. Which again, I failed to realize.
Because I stay at home and don’t work and never look at a calendar because I don’t work and stay at home and have no purpose and can’t even keep a floor clean or remember that it’s Wednesday.
Ugh. That’s when it got ugly. I won’t go into the depths of it, because no one wants to experience that twice, but the bottom line is that I was feeling like a total and utter flop.
Something I’m learning as I stay home with Milo is that the voices I have allowed to survive in my head are, in part, incredibly unkind. We are always cultivating our minds, by what we plant and prune and water, and I have allowed a split crop of self-pity and nasty self talk to take root. I don’t think I am alone. You might be a dad or mom at home, like me, or perhaps you are working full time, or are single, or unemployed, or retired, or married, or divorced, or widowed, or like grape soda or run a circus, or run a circus while drinking grape soda – which, I don’t know, sounds sort of great. Regardless of your circumstance and role, I have a sinking feeling that you also beat yourself up every now and again.
Or again and again.
Today I remind myself, and perhaps, you, that what I need more than a clean floor or a full schedule is a serious helping of grace, accompanied by a wake-up-you-crazy-person slap across the jaw.
The world is full of ammunition. Full of smooth stones named comparison and pride and lies.
And as we walk among this weaponry, some of us choose to throw these stones at the people around us. Others carry them in our arms until the burden is so heavy that we can’t walk.
Good glory, child. Put. down. the. weapons. *Smack*
Newsflash: We will never be enough. Not for this broken world.
Never busy enough, or put-together enough.
Not witty enough or perceptive enough.
Never attentive enough or organized enough.
Not rich enough or selfless enough.
Never fit enough or well-read enough or relaxed enough or patient enough or exceptional enough.
So quit playing by the wrong rules. Cry when you need to cry. Scream sometimes. The world does not need another person who is too crippled by fear and self-loathing to function. It needs you. It needs me. It needs the character that you have and your smile, and my hands and my voice. It needs your love and your listening ears and my laugh and my feet. It needs us to clean up the rubble so that the next person can walk in the clear.
Handlettering work by the amazing Jessa B..
I will need to wake each and every morning and remind myself that this is still true: today, tomorrow, and the 20,000 days after that. But it is necessary for me, and it is necessary for you.
Because that broccoli is coming, baby, and we'd better be ready.