24 October 2010

The unattainable goal

Ah perfection, that unattainable goal that we all strive for and yet know is always just out of our reach.  Why do we set ourselves up for the inevitable dashing and crashing of our hopes?  I suspect it is a combination of the thrill of the hunt and for those unicorn rare times that we actually achieve it (or believe we do).  I have found that those most guilty (or is it guiltiest? See, there I go again, trying to get it perfect) of attempting perfection are parents.  We want our children's lives to be nothing short of a storybook, complete with happy endings.  Yet what we often forget is that the things that shape people the most are not the happy magical stories.  What has the greatest impact on someone are the nitty gritty moments, when we are put to the test and must come through the trials and fires.  Unless you are accepting that life should be more like the original Grimm's Fairy Tales, life isn't and shouldn't be a storybook.  I have to constantly remind myself of this.  I also have to constantly be reminded that a snag or a change of a day's plans does not mean that the day is ruined.  Let me explain.

My dad and step-mom are in town.  I am ecstatic to have them here.  We've been keeping quite busy since they arrived.  On Friday we decided to go to DC to visit as many museums as we could.  This was Adam's first day back from his conference and a chance to have some great family bonding time.  We got diaper bags packed, moved car seats into my dad's mini-van and were on our way.  We planned to drive to Shady Grove Metro and take the train all the way to DC.  I made sure that Kara and I had things for our motion sickness.  However, I didn't listen to the little voice that told me 2 things.  1) drive to a station further down the line so that we were always underground and 2) consider driving.  We did not even make it half way before we had to get off so Kara's stomach could settle. We then got back on the train only to have to exit one more stop down. At this point the decision is made for my dad and step-mom to continue down, Adam to take Rowan back to get the car to pick up Kara and I and then we drive to DC.  I am sad that I now have to leave with Kara to figure out what is around this station for us to do and don't get time with my family.  Adam realized right after he got on the train back to Shady Grove that we made a mistake.  He had the child that needed to nurse and didn't have any way of nursing her.  After over an hour he finally made it to me.  At which point I am tired and cranky.  Kara is likewise cranky because she wants to be with everyone else.  Rowan is cranky because she is hungry and Adam is trying to keep the rest of us calm.  We got to DC just fine, everyone had fun exploring, and we got time together.  And yet, I saw this excursion as a failure and that it was my fault.  I was trying to reach the unattainable goal and set myself up for disappointment.  This has happened before, this will happen again.  You'd think I'd learn my lesson.  What I should have taken from the day was that I now know that Kara needs medication in order to ride on trains.  (Believe me folks, I have tried everything for her, and she still feels sick on the train.)

Perhaps over time I will ease up and not try for unicorn moments so often.  Perhaps as I grow as a mom I will relax my standards and what I think of as "perfect".  And then again, perhaps we will find that missing bone on the horse skeleton and realize that unicorns still exist.

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