Saturday, July 27, 2013

One Step, Two Steps - Here We Go!

I stood in the kitchen at 6 AM this morning, stirring a pot of veggie soup for Hunter. Behind me paper cracked as the Resident Toddler emptied the box of recycling. I listened out of the corner of one ear, my focus oh the workday ahead and all the things I had to do.

Then the only sound I heard was the swoosh of the spoon through the soup. Silence, behind me. Then a brief, breathy giggly.

I sploshed the spoon on the counter and whirled, expecting to find him emptying my purse or unloading the desk drawer. 

Instead, there he stood, knees slightly bent, arms out for balance, wobbling ever so slightly, a grin showing wider and wider over his face.

I caught my breath. Before I could whoop and clap and celebrate, he lifted one foot, then another. His tongue poked out between the grin. Ten steady, measured steps, and he wrapped my knees in a Hunter Special Hug Supreme.

And just like that, my kiddo's walking. It's still brief, unsteady, but it's nonstop. He'll be off and running next.
I surprised myself by being actually rather calm about the whole thing. I cried the first time if course, but now it's just a warm fizz of happiness. I think that's because I was okay with who H was not walking. I wanted him to walk, and it's awesome that he's started, but I thought he was pretty cool as a crawler too.

I'm surprised that I'm so calm, but I'm also happy, in the same quiet, deep happiness of a tree soaking sunshine right to the roots. I don't fear the future anymore, and I don't wrestle against Hunter's delays (most of the time!!). He is incredible just as he is, as and long as he's happy, so am I. 

And the realization that I'm at that point of acceptance just makes each step all the sweeter.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Not Good Enough

I just spent two hours editing the scholarship essay I’ve already edited a dozen times. I still don’t like it. 

If it were just the essay, I’d decide it was that simple, trash it, and start over.  But it’s not just the essay.  It’s everything.  It’s all the school assignments I tore up a million times only to turn in an essay or presentation I hated just as much as the first one – only to get A’s on all of them.  It’s the incredible stress that grinds at my shoulders when I’m two minutes late to work – even though I happily cover for my employers when they are late.  It’s the persistent voice in my head that whispers “Wow, you really messed that up, and they probably think you’re a stupid idiot, since you certainly sound like one whenever you open your mouth.”
It’s the mantra I whisper over and over to myself “Idiot.  Stupid.  Dumb, dumb, dumb stupid me who never gets anything right.”
Truth is, I do get things right.  Bad students don’t get A’s, and poor employees don’t have good references.  Even though I may look and act thrown together, my child certainly does not.  I am a good mom, lucky enough to spend most of my time caring for my son and the other kids I’m blessed to care for.
All this I know objectively, because it’s factual information I can’t deny.  I don’t feel any of it.  What I feel is a failure, most of the time.  When I actually admit I may, possibly, have done something a little bit right I feel like I need to check over both shoulders quick for condemnation.
There’s nothing wrong with perfection.  But I am a perfectionist going wrong, and I’m afraid of where it’s going.
Because how can I be a special needs mom who advocates for acceptance when I can’t accept myself?  How can I cherish Hunter for the amazing person he is when I hate myself?  How can I expect him to confidently believe in himself when my confidence is a shriveled up sponge and I believe I’m a failure…when I’m not?
“You’re too hard on yourself,” people tell me all the time.  

“How can you be too hard on yourself?” I retort.  “I wouldn’t be where I am without being this hard on myself.”

Truth is, that’s probably not truth.  There’s a sort of greed in this everlasting hunger to be better better better.  It’s one thing to realize have goals and work toward them and it’s another thing to let every milestone toward those goals fall to the ground like empty trash. 

This wasn’t the post I intended to write today.  I think it’s the post I needed to write.  I needed to get it out in black on white and really realize that this isn’t just affecting me, it will affect Hunter too.

So I’m asking for help.  Who else struggles like this?  How do you work through it?  Most of all, how do you prevent it from affecting those whom you love?