I remember when I was young (yes, a veeeerrrryyyyyy long time ago), I thought my parents had all of the answers. They knew why the sky was blue. The knew what we were having for dinner. They knew why my little sister was so annoying. They knew how Santa could travel the earth in one night. They knew the going rate the tooth fairy paid for a front tooth vs a molar. They knew everything. They were the smartest people on earth.
I decided then (with the wisdom of a child) that 30 was the magic age. When I turned 30, I would know all of the answers. I would be wise, beautiful, confident, and successful. When I was 30, my world would be perfect.
Guess what? I was wrong.
Now, on the other side of 40, I admit that not only do I NOT have all of the answers, I don’t even know where to look for most of them. Some answers just can’t be found in the dictionary, or in encyclopedias (yes, I am that old), or even *gasp*shudder* on the internet.
I’m not perfect. I’m not even close. I’m not smart. I’m not beautiful. I’m not confident. I still feel insecure and afraid. I am still as socially awkward now as I was in high school (though, Thank You, God, for helping me to survive That Horror!). I still have trouble remembering that sometimes it is best to remain quiet. I still can’t think of the “right” thing to say in difficult situations. I can’t kiss my kids boo-boos better and I can’t protect them from life’s little agonies. I can’t even comfort my husband when life throws him a curve. I can’t take care of my mother like I wish I could. I feel completely inadequate as a Daughter, as a Wife, as Mother, even as a Woman.
But sometimes, I get close to being perfect. I can change light bulbs for my mother and change the sheets on her bed. I can rock my little boy to sleep sometimes even at the age of 5. I can still tell my boys how proud I am of them and all they accomplish. I can hold my husband’s hand, look him in the eye and honestly tell him that I love him, and that I believe in him, and know that he believes me even if he doesn’t believe in himself.
So while, I’m still not wise, or beautiful, or confident, I think I am successful. I’m happy with my life. I don’t have a high-powered job and money is still tight, but I don’t need those things. I have a husband I love that loves me, and my kids still (mostly) think I’m perfect. Those are the criteria by which I judge my success. And when I feel inadequate and awkward and helpless, I try to remember to remind myself of those things. Some days I’m more successful than others, but sometimes making the effort is all that matters.