Who else struggles with perfectionism, comparison, feeling insignificant? It’s bad when I feel it for myself, but it’s downright criminal when I project that onto my kids. And I do project. All of the time. I want the best for them, therefore I want the best of them. I get totally competitive. All of the time. Oh, how unfortunate of a mother I have been. My oldest, Abigail, has born the biggest brunt of it. In fact, the other day after a low-achieving track meet, I was concerned when Abigail wouldn’t tell her slower-than-usual-finish-times to her friends. When they asked, she just acted like she hadn’t checked her time at all. I knew she had checked it. It’s just that my perfectionism has become a part of her, and she couldn’t let herself admit the obvious…she was having a bad running day. I tried to comfort her on the way home, “Abigail, sometimes we just have off days. It’s o.k.” This morning I read this poem (Make the Ordinary Come Alive by William Martin) on the facebook page of a family member. Even though the wisdom of it stems from Taoism, which I don’t really practice, I believe it is universal. (And, I also believe I am going to study up some more on the way of the Tao – is that how you say that?) The simplicity of the wisdom blew my mind. I’ve been pondering on it all day. It struck me to the core. I couldn’t wait to share it with you. Do you see all those boys back there watching my girl? Yeah, she’s actually extraordinarily beautiful…even though ordinary is beautiful enough. Or they could be looking directly at me…the crazy lady with the camera cheering louder than all the rest of the crowd. ha.
Do you, like me, see how the words of this poem, will change “Abigail sometimes we just have off days” to “Abigail it is so beautiful that you can run!?” How blessed we are. How blessed we are indeed with this ordinary life. So, as my kids age and prepare to fly the coop, I have a few new guideline questions for myself:
- Am I teaching them that the ordinary is extraordinary?
- Will I be not just o.k. but proud to tell my friends who raised the next president of the United States that my child is a mailman and loves it?
- Am I spending my time really celebrating the little things like apples?
- Am I giving them all the experiences that I can? (Those poor kids whose parents won’t allow them to have a pet!)
- Am I preaching a sermon of following your heart by following my own?
- Do I believe that we are not all just equally important but equally blessed to just be on the journey?
I can’t wait to embrace the ordinary with my favorite people. I hope this new philosophy will give them the space to do the same. I know it will bring me much greater happiness and satisfaction that will replace a life-long dissatisfaction because of wrong feelings of inferiority stemming from my ordinary. My ordinary is extraordinary! And so is yours. What a perfect message on a night that we are having breakfast for dinner. Bacon deserves a party.