Sometimes it’s important to push for bigger, better, stronger, fitter. More love. More truth. Deeper joy. Bring it, Life.
Other times, I am kaput. Bringing it’s been brought, and I’m wrung out. Done ditty done.
It seems like the trick is to figure out when to make the push and when to realize that good enough is good enough.
Road map, please? Anyone? A little help?
I’m generally a fan of this self-made philosophy:
I will do what I can do.
I will try to do a little bit of what I think I cannot do.
And I will forgive myself for the things that remain undone.
But sometimes I forget, and I get caught in the push.
I have twin boys who are six-years-and-one-week-old today.
WOO to the HOO!
I love it when kids get older and more reliably wipe their own leaky body parts. No looking back, right? No weeping at times gone by! My kids are growing up, and it’s fantastic… except for when I hate it just a little. Like late at night when Greg catches me sitting on their beds with their sleeping carcasses snuggled in my lap. “Did he need something?” Greg asks, “Did he wake up?” “No,” I whisper with my face buried in my baby’s hair, “I needed something.” And Greg nods and quietly shuts the door.
But I have twin boys who are six-years-and-one-week-old today — WOO to the HOO! — and that’s worthy of celebration no matter this mama’s occasional hang-ups about her babies getting big.
Once upon a time, I was a great kids’ party planner. I was Pinterest before Pinterest was a thing.
When my 1-year-old kid had a circus party, there was a juggler.
When my 3-year-old kid had a princess party, I hired a princess to read stories.
When my 4-year-old kid had a Dora party, Swiper swiped the whole dang party, and we donned Backpack and consulted Map to track it down.
I spent weeks planning every detail, drawing posters, and creating themed gift bags.
I know. I hardly recognize myself anymore, either. Because then I had 1,000 kids, and whew! party-planning wasn’t quite so much anymore, ya know? But still, I try to do something cool for each kid these days. To do what I can do and then a little bit more.
On Friday, though, I realized that my boys already turned six.
On Friday, they asked if they were going to have a party. And also, Mom, can it pretty please be a Pokemon Beyblades Ninjago Transformers party?
On Friday, I said, “Um, yeah. Sometime. I don’t know when, though. I’ll have to look at the calendar, and that kind of party is elaborate, guys. It takes planning.” And I also said, “we’ll see” which is like the death-knell of hope in our house.
Their faces fell, but I thought, what else can I do? There’ll have to be a Pokemon cake and Transformers decorations and Ninjago swag. We’ll need Beyblades games and I’ll have to make the invitations myself, and, and, and…
And on Friday, I realized that the only person holding back the party was me. Me and a heaping pile of my own expectations.
So on Friday, I sent out a plaintext email to my kids’ friends, and I invited them to a
Pokemon Beyblades Ninjago Transformers party
(where all or none of those things may be represented… who knows??)
And then I bought a not-Pokemon, not-Beyblades, not-Ninjago, not-Transformers pinata from the local Mexican grocery store. And cake mix and tubs of frosting. And rainbow temporary tattoos. And two bags of candy.
I dug brown paper lunch bags out of the drawer for pinata loot and wrote kids’ names on them in fading Sharpie while my teenager and her friend made dense, collapsed cupcakes by following two different sets of directions.
Yesterday, we had a birthday party that in no way resembled the Pokemon Beyblades Ninjago Transformers party of my dreams. And you know what?
The kids had a blast.
They played outside and tracked dog poop in the house.
They killed the pinata on the second swing and then gleefully pummeled it on the ground ’til everyone had a turn.
They decorated their own cupcakes, which is the most terrible and wonderful of all small child activities.
And we sent several little ones home looking like they were mauled by Rainbow Brite.
It was, officially, the very best Pokemon Beyblades Ninjago Transformers party the world has ever known.
In conclusion, I love looking at Pinterest. I do. And someday I hope to play at that level again.
But for right now, my kids feel special and important and celebrated, and that is good enough. And not just good enough in the shrug-my-shoulders, I-give-up kind of way. Nope. I’m talking both good and enough. Because it turns out that sometimes
bigger, better, stronger, and fitter
— more love, more truth, and deeper joy —
all happen when I realize
this life is already good and enough.
Happy Birthday, babies! Mama loves you loves you.
Psst… do you have a story of “good and enough?” I’m all ears.