My daughter threw up this morning. She leaned over her bowl of Mini-Wheats and puked up her daily vitamin. Half crying and half choking, she looked up with an air of bewilderment as we rushed to her side.
Nothing breaks my heart quite like that sad little face and the pronouncement of “owie tummy, Mommy.”
I should have noticed sooner…I should have scooped her into my lap…I should have bought more ginger ale…I should wash our hands more often…I should feed her more vegetables…I should buy organic…I should give her the latest trendy-hippie-health-freak-immunity-boosting-super-food…I should know what that is…I should have kept her home from school yesterday…I should put her in the bath…I should scrub the tub out more often, it’s gross…I should stay home from my class this afternoon…I should have finished my paper yesterday…I should worry less about rearranging my day and more about my little girl…
And the guilt game plays on and on and on… just like every other day in the life of a Mom. Though to be completely fair, I was an expert player long before my children came along.
A modern day Atlas, with the weight of the world on my shoulders, my reach often exceeds my grasp. I’d like to end poverty, cure the Aids pandemic, reorganize the storage room and teach my daughter to read, all while maintaining my ideal weight. I’d like to write a book, master every spiritual discipline, earn a PhD and design a Martha Stewart home with paper mache and a $10 budget. I’d like to teach seminars like: Flawlessly Understanding the Entire Bible, Effortless Parenting to Produce Perfect Children and, most impressive of all, How to Potty Train Your Special Needs Child in a Single Day (because I really should have figured all this out by now). I’d like to be everything to everyone.
So I feed myself a steady diet of comparison and perfectionism (and chocolate; there’s always chocolate).
While I may huff and puff and sigh about my problems with guilt, I still hold onto it with an iron grip. On some level I must believe that it is the engine that drives me. It’s a bad habit I keep returning to.
According to Greek mythology, Zeus condemned Atlas for his support of the Titans in their war against the Olympians. As a punishment, he was sent to the western edge of the earth and forced to hold the sky on his back. He literally became the axis upon which the heavens rotated.
I can relate. It’s hard being the centre of the universe.
This week was a complete write off. The flu took it’s toll. I spent entire days in bed. I missed meetings. I wasn’t there to pack lunches or drive kids around or check up on homework. And guess what? The world kept on spinning.
I am learning to ask for help, to accept it graciously and to put down burdens that aren’t mine to carry. Every day I must resist the siren song of pride and insecurity, and remember that boundaries and limitations are a blessing, not a curse. I find my worth, not in perfection or accomplishment, but in being the unique person God designed me to be.
The chorus of “should” begins to quiet when I remember my inestimable value.
I am just doing the best I can. And that requires no apology.
So here’s me, posting my life-writing paper as a blog post, because I just don’t have the energy to write anything else.