Mother’s Day weekend was so busy for our family. Little Man celebrated a friend’s birthday in the Forest (love the pictures of the two of us below — he makes my heart warm)…And we did a bunch of other stuff I cannot even remember anymore (story of my life). Then the kids and My Husband of oh, so many years (I think like 13 or something…) made me the BEST Breakfast in Bed ever! I don’t even know if I have ever had a Breakfast in Bed. In fact, I don’t think I eat Breakfast anywhere as a general rule. But this one was lovely and my little family was so tickled to deliver it to me. Then they wanted to know if I was coming to the kitchen to eat with them. Um, maybe not. We spent the rest of the day doing whatever I wanted to do, so I was determined to prove that doing things Mom’s way can be fun! One of our events was the Art Walk in the River Arts District of Asheville. Watching the artists blow glass was fascinating for everyone! If I said it once, I said it a thousand times, “See how much fun it is doing whatever Mom wants?”. I hope your Mother’s Day was wonderful, whether you are a Mom, or happen to know a Mom. Love, Emily
St Patrick’s Day is a serious non-event in our household. The children deliberate over whether or not to wear green, and whether or not it is so mean of people to pinch them if they don’t. Then they ask hard questions like what is St Patrick’s Day all about anyway? Seriously? I haven’t got a clue other than it happens during tax season.
Then there is the Mommy-Guilt for not making green pancakes. Last night I wailed to my husband (ok, I didn’t really wail, but that’s how it felt inside), “All the good moms make green pancakes for breakfast on St Patrick’s Day and I am doing nothing!” He turned a bewildered face to me and asked me, “What are green pancakes?” which was kind of missing the point… Then to his credit, he then asked if I actually knew any moms who were making green pancakes. To which I had no answer. Because I do not actually know any green pancake making mothers. But I do know one who is making corned beef and cabbage which sounds really delicious (you can find my hero, the Pioneer Woman’s recipe here). Maybe my corned beef make friend can invite us over for dinner…
Of course I did have SOME added responsibility on this non-event holiday, because I am Co-Class-Mom for one of the kids’ classes. So I dropped the green filled Oreos (mint?), green plates and adorable mini water bottles off this morning with the children. What a mom, right??!?
Driving to school I heard this beautiful prayer on the radio, attributed to St Patrick. All of the pressure, guilt and anxiety I was feeling fell away so quickly. Read and see if remembering what is truly important doesn’t make you feel a little more sane today.
The Prayer of St. Patrick
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.
I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.
Christ shield me today
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of creation.
(Thank you to http://www.beliefnet.com/Prayers/Catholic/Morning/The-Prayer-Of-St-Patrick.aspx#bRfc74AaOEKcZe7C.99 for sharing this!)
I’m just curious. Do you happen to live in a world that expects perfection?
Do people love to rant and rave, fight and fuss when you make a mistake? Yep, I’ve been there, heard that, too.
But have you ever had the chance to work with or for anyone who gives you Mercy (kindness or help given to people in a very bad or desperate situation, thank you Merriam-Webster) for Imperfection? Or shown even the tiniest bit of sympathy or understanding, when you make a mistake, miss a deadline or say the wrong thing?
That felt amazing, right?? A breath of fresh air? A glass of cold water on a hot day? (or a chocolate bar with a side of vanilla latte on any given day)
That form of Mercy or understanding received from another human being can be pretty hard to come by. After all, everyone else is under the same gun, the same kind of perfection pressure that you feel.
Now let me ask, how do you deal with your own imperfection? Do you rant and rave at yourself? Blame others? Maybe you use that ancient tool called “denial”. Now there’s a tactic for coping with personal weakness…
A sense of utter devastation is my personal favorite reaction to my own errors. It is so easy to decide that I’m just not valuable, smart or capable enough when I don’t measure up to someone else’s expectations.
STOP for just a moment… Does anything we are talking about sound a little silly to you? Maybe like a slight overreaction? After all, everyone everywhere makes mistakes. And the higher our stakes, the bigger our mistakes.
How high are the stakes in your life? Are you afraid of the mistakes you could make? The older I get, the more responsibility I accept, the more I know that I just may get something wrong… So I’ve learned to cope by preempting my own imperfections. I have found strategies to shore up my areas of weakness. I make backup plans. (No real surprise there, coming from a professional planner, right?)
I set calendar reminders. I auto email myself on important dates with important reminders and information. I even make backup plans for others when our success is intertwined. I create processes and procedures with systems of checks and balances to catch things long and far before they become an actual problem.
But I cannot prevent all mistakes, errors and moments of personal weakness. So I must learn to extend Mercy to myself when I have only myself to blame…
And I keep trying. I don’t let mistakes break me. Mistakes can feel momentarily devastating, but they will never, ever stop me. I will keep showing up at work with new ideas and renewed effort. I will keep showing up for my family with humility, forgiveness and open arms. I will keep showing up in my community even when I’m too embarrassed that I am the only class mom who thought it would be a good idea to give all the children real, live goldfish for Valentine’s (totally kidding, but it does sound like an idea I would have…and it turns out I’m not willing to admit to the actual bad idea I had most recently) because my presence and heart for our kids Makes A Difference.
Hang in there, friend. You have greatness in you. I know you do. Keep showing up. Stay courageous. And when people demand perfection, give them your consistent best: the BEST that lives up to your own high standards of never giving up, and is stable in spite of momentary imperfections. Walk in the quiet, genuine humility of a man or woman dedicated to performing with excellence while acknowledging his or her own humanity. And by all means possible, learn to extend that mercy and understanding to the humans living around you.