I had the WORST day yesterday. I mean the worst.
It started out bad and got worse as the day progressed. It wasn't just one thing but a culmination of a lot of things and I was quietly, secretly trying to hold it together. Then, the biggest hit of all came and it was like a tidal wave of bad about the one thing that you can get me with 10 out of 10 times. My kids. And this time it wasn't just one, it was both.
As you know, we have been in celebratory mode around here with Frick graduating and all, and it all culminates this weekend with a big, blow out, $$oiree for her on Saturday. It's the party she never had, but I think she deserves and I made sure to "order it up from the caterer" (this will make sense in a minute) Then the blow came and it left me sick to my stomach.
I'm still in limbo over my feelings, and as I sit here today and wait for the rental company (that there is no turning back on), to come and set up the massive tent, tables, chairs and dance floor, I have to ask myself, "What the hell are you doing?". Then like a little grace from God, just when I had asked for it and needed it, it came to me in my morning paper. It's not really the answer, because there is no answer, but it's a statement. A mission statement to all those parents who are feeling like I am right now.
A local English teacher addressed the students at commencement last weekend and his speech entitled, "You're Not Special" put it into perspective for me. He said what needed to be said to all of us parents and students and overachievers who think our shit doesn't stink. Boy are we wrong.
Basically it was a much needed bitch slap to all of us who get caught up in the race for perfection.
"You are not special. You are not exceptional.
Contrary to what your u9 soccer trophy suggests, your glowing seventh grade report card, despite every assurance of a certain corpulent purple dinosaur, that nice Mister Rogers and your batty Aunt Sylvia, no matter how often your maternal caped crusader has swooped in to save you... you’re nothing special."
Was my cape really that obvious?
What the heck? It was like this guy was talking directly to me and his words were never truer. He did what needed to be done and he told it like it needs to be told. As a parent in the community, an educator and mentor, he gave it to them straight, just like the real world undoubtedly will.
"Yes, you’ve been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble-wrapped. Yes, capable adults with other things to do have held you, kissed you, fed you, wiped your mouth, wiped your bottom, trained you, taught you, tutored you, coached you, listened to you, counseled you, encouraged you, consoled you and encouraged you again. You’ve been nudged, cajoled, wheedled and implored. You’ve been feted and fawned over and called sweetie pie. Yes, you have. And, certainly, we’ve been to your games, your plays, your recitals, your science fairs. Absolutely, smiles ignite when you walk into a room, and hundreds gasp with delight at your every tweet. Why, maybe you’ve even had your picture in the Townsman! And now you’ve conquered high school... and, indisputably, here we all have gathered for you, the pride and joy of this fine community, the first to emerge from that magnificent new building...
But do not get the idea you’re anything special. Because you’re not."
“The fulfilling life, the distinctive life, the relevant life, is an achievement, not something that will fall into your lap because you’re a nice person or mommy ordered it from the caterer.”
Amen to that. Because I will certainly remember it this Saturday as I'm cutting the check to the caterer.