The scene of the crime: the day I fell flat on my face in the goat pen while feeding my eager and equally fragrant friends. I was hurried and harried, late for work. I rushed to get everything done before heading out. My pace proved my undoing as I climbed over the fence and landed in a slippery patch of what can only be described as the unmistakable stew of mud and goat poop. Within moments I was face down, spread eagle in this…indignity. Covered. Just COVERED. Head to toe in it. The goats were delighted by my entry, and being male, clearly enjoyed the Three stooges comedy of my situation. I had little choice but to climb to my feet and continue with my chores before stripping down quite publicly on my porch to the amusement of passers by. I was certainly not going to trail THAT delightful mess through my house on the way to shower! It’s fascinating the perspective this gives. Interestingly enough, when your day starts covered in excrement, the rest of the day’s problems seem relatively manageable.
“Mamma said there’d be days like this, there’d be days like this my mamma said”. Truth. That’s what just dropped my friends, TRUTH. Every single one of us has had that moment when the fates conspire against you. When you smack your little toe against the table leg of life and before you can call your words back, out they fly like a boomerang that is DEFINITELY going to come back to bite you. Well, when it happens, (and happen it will, I promise you this) just breathe deeply and try to recall these sage words, these pearls of wisdom, these nuggets of gold I am sharing with you now:
1. Unless your rage fueled moment of weakness left a body to hide, it’s going to be fine. It will pass. Probably like a kidney stone, but this too shall pass. Your kids won’t be scarred for life, they probably won’t even need all that much therapy. Your partner may occasionally look at you like they just woke up in the twilight zone, but that’s ok, they’re probably a bit freaky too. Hey, look at it this way, your moment of human imperfection has provided them with a great ice breaker story for later in life at the very least. Probably a bit of fuel for your commitment hearings, but a hell of a story too. If there is a body, you’re on your own.
2. Everyone boomerangs in life. You’re not alone. The entire human race has had their own private Idaho moment where better judgement did not prevail, and that action, those words came flying back. Remember recess? Hell, not a kid on that playground escaped middle school without the requisite poor judgment skills that go neatly hand in hand with the acne and the rapid, awkward body changes. Spilled secrets, terribly chosen alliances all are the hallmarks of our adolescence. It’s probably where they got the idea for “Survivor”. My point is, you and a couple billion unique individuals exactly like you (yes, that was intentional) all struggle in moments of weakness and sometimes we lose. Pick yourself up, dust your self off, clean up your mess and then move on. Leave the boomerang analogy there. Plainly put: don’t keep coming back to your mistake. You got your mess cleaned up? Lesson learned? You’re good.
3. Here I’ve saved the best for last. Be the first to tell your story. Don’t let fear of your past keep you hostage. Be brave. Let others see your strength by seeing that you wade through the same stuff everyone else does. Laugh at your self, at your real person status, and then feel good that you aren’t cloaking yourself in shame at your startling lack of awesomeness at times. That’s what makes you great. You really ARE amazing. You’re messy and lovely, and complexly put together. If you’re going to keep boomeranging anything, let it be your light.
If you still have that body we talked about earlier, give me a call. I might know a guy. Damn. I sure hope that doesn’t come back to bite me…..
Edit If you could see what I see. If you could look through the lense of my eyes and see yourself, see your worth, see your light and your beautiful soul, you would know that you are worth waiting for. You are worth getting to know. You are worth long conversations and equally long silences. You are worth walking with. You are worth crossing a room for, crossing a street for, crossing the universe for. You are worth the wait.
You are in a hurry to grow up, to fall in love, or even wildly in like, and to be wildly liked and loved back. Your passions sweep through you like wind through the trees, waves on the ocean, and fire through brush. Please take your time, please savor the moments and relish the days and don’t hurry so. Believe me when I tell you that the someone’s that matter, the ones that are meant to be, are also worth the wait. They will look at you like I look at you. They will see you as I see you. They will feel the rush of passions as you feel them and they will wait for you, because you are worth waiting for.
Dignity. Ever dignity. That was my father’s motto, and like the dutiful children my siblings and I were, we endeavored to strip him of it. Every chance we got. Our good fortune lay in his tireless patience and humor.
My own sojourn into parenthood lead me along much the same path. The eternal lessons in humility, panic, patience, and the art of field stitching wounds, finding lost items, locating public bathrooms for pea sized bladders, and cultivating a level of civilized behavior in my offspring suitable for general audiences. It’s a bumpy road, to say the least. To say the most…well, entire libraries of books on the subject already litter the landscape. I will spare you the unabridged version.
I love my children. I am continually amazed by their brilliance (which they get from their dad) and their keen sense of humor, sliding often into the dark, irreverent side, which I am certain they get from me. At every opportunity I have thrust upon them to become cultured and refined, they have proven time and again that my genetic contributions to their proper sensibilities has won out. Shenanigans and tomfoolery ensue.
I have, maybe, 3 or 4 pictures over the past 20 years in which my children are looking at the camera and smiling nicely. I have thousands more where not a single one of them was able to master the self control necessary for a 20 second photograph.
My albums, the records of my beautiful children, read like a year book for the local insane asylum. Why does this make me ridiculously proud?
On the way home
“On the way home” is a phrase that most people consider to refer to a point on the map between a starting point and a final destination. You know, like “I’ll stop for milk on my way home from work”, or “I’ll pick up your kid on my way past your house for basketball practice”, because those things are conveniently place in between point A and point B. “On the way home” is a small favor to do, not even a favor really, since your going pretty much right past that thing or kid to get where you were going to go anyway, right? You really only need to break a little, maybe even stop the car so the extra kid can dive roll in and buckle up as you rev the engine and bring the car back to top speeds with out skipping a beat. My friends and I do it all the time for each other, mostly because while we like each other, it is pretty much ON THE WAY, so why not? If your kid lived across town and I had to drive in some crazy triangle just to get your kid before driving in a totally opposite direction, I certainly wouldn’t consider it “on the way” and while I would still do it for you, it would ABSOLUTELY be a favor. I might even grumble on occasion, as I’m sure you would. Muttering under my breath as I add extra time to do this THING for my friend because it meant heaving my lazy butt off the couch and into a cold car on a dark night that much sooner. I mean, I love you all, really I do, and I will always help you out and I won’t even complain out loud. I don’t need to since having a continual internal dialogue going on in my warped brain anyway, that would terrify most sane people.
I’ll talk and rail at myself in the privacy of my brain. No need to expose you to all that. Anyway, the point is while I will do this for you anytime, I don’t consider it “on the way”, that’s all. Here’s the thing that amazes me though: My parents are always saying this to me. “Honey, we thought we would just stop by on the way home from your sister’s.
My sister, it should be noted, lives two and a half hours south of me, and my parents live an hour south of me so I am most definitely NOT on their way home. They’ll stop by “on their way home” from points across the globe, and always with arms full of things they picked up shopping (that they will never use) that they figure we can use/need/like.
They are amazing. It hasn’t mattered how long their flight back from a sojourn somewhere wonderful was; still they will call and say, “We thought we would swing by on our way home…” They have logged more out of the way miles than that guy from “Dumpsters, dives and diners” has and all in the name of coming to me “on their way home”.
When my Dad and Mom say “on the way home” what they are really saying is “I love you”. Like Wesley in the Princess Bride movie who’s “as you wish” was really “I love you”. My parents have ways of saying this that at first go unnoticed for the expression it really is. I am not “on the way home” for them, not by any stretch of the imagination, but for my mom and dad, I will always be “on the way home. And, you know what? I love them too.
A dare. That’s what most of motherhood is: one, giant, everyone’s watching DARE. Actually, it’s the ultimate dare. The DOUBLE DOG DARE, the dare from which there is no backing down, no saying “pass”. It’s the dare to end all dares and everyone is watching. It’s you against the unknown challenge. You somehow know instinctively that it will involve being outside of your comfort zone, and also, probably, a little humiliation for laughs.
It’s worth it, don’t get me wrong, but you WILL be the subject of many, many blackmail worthy pictures your kids are probably assembling into a final presentation for your commitment hearings. Don’t worry, you’ll have your day in court. Two can play at this game after all. I mean your average teen will melt in horror at any public demonstration of your singing…and your choice in outfits? Go for flamboyant costumes and I guarantee you will walk across that parking lot ALONE.
If anyone had been completely upfront with me about the huge leaps of faith, the near constant blindfolded trust walks, and the outright make-it-up-as-you-go-along technique required to shepherd those adorable, pudgy, toothless babies through their teen years and beyond, I might have run the other way.
But then again, I would have missed out on the best ride of my life. Go on and try it. I DARE you. Slap on your war paint and get ready to get down and dirty because being a mom is many things, and I wouldn’t trade a single one of them. Bring. It. ON.