Life is hard right now.  We’ve had an emergency on campus that is dragging on.  I haven’t slept well in weeks.  After our last two awesome trips with great sleep Z jumped off the good sleep wagon.  He fusses when he wakes up and wants to be asleep – multiple times a night.  It’s totally normal except that I am up like a shot the minute I hear him.  That equals many many many wake ups per night.  Ugh.  And KK has been working a LOT of night shifts.  I really miss my wife.  

It’s good to get that all off my chest, but that’s not what I want to say today.  

First.  

You’ve got this.  

I’ve got this.  

We’ll be just fine.  

Growing up I was always afraid to make the wrong decision.  Unpacking that angst I’ve found that it was the result of growing up with a mother who always had the right answer.  Not just the answer she thought was right.  It was always the right f*ing answer.  I could make a different decision, but I was going to be wrong.  She is brilliant.  She wanted the best for me and saved me from myself in some important ways.  And, it was miserable

I have become my mother.  

I realized a few weeks ago that KK was asking me what I thought about every decision she made.  It was annoying.  And I quickly realized that I started it.  I was giving the right answer every time, and when I didn’t I was doing an “I told you so” or an “I knew better” every time she made a decision that wasn’t to my liking.  It was gross.  It made me hate myself.  So. Not. Cool.  

Then, I was reading a parenting article about RIE (www.janetlansbury.com) and I realized that I was trying to help too much.  In my desire to get it right I wasn’t allowing for multiple ways of being, doing, living well.  We are all capable of making great decisions.  We don’t need someone to tell us how to do it because we already know what we need.  And if we don’t know exactly what we need, we can figure it out ourselves.  If I help Z too much I’m not doing him any favors.  In fact, I’m denying him the experience of failing and learning that he can pick himself back up.  I work with too many students who are 18 years old and are terrified of failure, because they have never been allowed to experience it.  I want Z to fail.  I want him to make his own decisions, not just the ones I think are right.  He deserves to have my love, support and admiration in every time he makes a reasonable to good decision – even if I don’t love it.

This was something I needed to apply to all of my relationships, including the one I have with myself.  All this getting it right nonsense is ridiculous.  You’ve got this.  I’ve got this.  We’ll be just fine.  If it’s not perfect we can pick up the pieces.  No big thing.  Failures are awesome.  Taking a risk. Trusting each other.  It’s all totally worth it.  Because…

Second.

We are all doing the best that we can.  That’s it.  That jerk on the highway who cut me off?  Doing the best that he can..  The neighbors who woke my kid up with fireworks?  Life for many folks in my neighborhood is hard.  They were just celebrating.  My wife not doing exactly what I thought she should have done while I was at work and Z was a daycare?  No big thing.  She did what needed to be done.  She’s doing the best that she can.  In fact, we are all doing the best that we can.  

So, I’m finding some liberation in these two things.  And I think that they are making me a better wife, a better Chaplain to my students, a better mom, a better person.  

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