Sometimes the easiest thing can be the most difficult.
I took a reprieve from blogging mostly because of some technical difficulties. But the technical challenges I was having almost seemed symptomatic of other struggles I was having personally; namely, remembering that everything in life can’t be controlled and that’s often the beauty of it.
It’s been 3 months since I left television news and took the leap away from my career for very personal reasons. I was gung-ho and ready to be the ever-present mom I had not been for most of my son’s 12 years of life. I set the bar high for myself in that respect. I was going to become a familiar face at his school, the team mom who went to every baseball practice and game and the mom who was going to be so present and helpful with homework my son would get his best grades ever.
Well, that bar was too unrealistically high and when it came crashing down, so did I. A few weeks ago I just lost it. I expected this smooth transition and that everything would just fall into place the way I thought it should and then it didn’t and I felt like a failure. So much so that I didn’t want to blog because I felt like I wouldn’t have anything uplifting to write about. But in retrospect, I think that’s exactly why I should write. I’m such a proponent of telling women to cut themselves some slack and not try to do it all and to give ourselves pats on the back for what we accomplish rather than what we didn’t – and here I was NOT practicing what I preach.
The light bulb flashed for me when my son injured his arm in a baseball game a few weeks ago. He had been working so hard for months to improve his game and when he took the mound during a school game for the first time this season, he was energized and excited which probably numbed him a little to the pain he was feeling in his elbow. By the second pitch I knew something wasn’t right. After the first inning he came to me complaining that his elbow really hurt but I don’t think even I considered just how honest he was being. He threw another inning and it was obvious, this was no joke.
When I finally got him in to see a specialist and he was asked on a scale of 1 to 10 – 10 being worst – how severe the pain was that day on the mound, he told the doctor it was an 11! My shoulders sank. How did I not know it was that bad? What kind of mom was I, I thought?! The doctor then dropped the bomb neither of us expected. No baseball for 6 weeks. He had an elbow sprain that, if he continued to play baseball, would result in a tear that would require surgery; the same surgery his dad had so many years ago that ultimately led to his retirement from professional baseball. He would need several weeks of physical therapy if he intended to heal properly and continue to play baseball. Now, in the grand scheme of life this might not register on the Richter scale. But for my son and me, this was a huge blow. It was a setback neither of us expected and after I dropped him off at school following the appointment, I sat in my car and cried because on the drive between that appointment and school, Def Leppard came on the radio and my son and I silently acknowledged that his dad was communicating with us. I don’t know what he was trying to say but I sat in my car alone and told him repeatedly how much I needed him. I needed him to say the right things to our son because I wanted to be encouraging, yet all this was so new to me.
In the weeks since, my son has followed his doctor-prescribed regimen and his physical therapist is encouraged by his progress. If at any point he started to take baseball or his ability to play for granted, this setback has certainly awakened his sense of gratitude. It also jolted me out of my funk, being reminded that we can’t always control what happens to us, but we can control how we deal with it. Nothing is ever as smooth as we’d like and when it’s not, it’s a ripe time to grow. My technological problems got solved. My son’s grades are better than ever and he accomplished that with less of my help than I thought he’d need. That’s a good thing! Remembering to loosen the reigns and roll with the punches are lessons he and I have been reminded of these last few weeks. Nothing is absolute and life can change on a dime.
I opened up my horoscope this morning (my son and I actually share the same sign) and it summed everything up perfectly for us: You weren’t born with the attitude that makes you a success. You have to chose it and then get up the next day and choose it again.
Cheers to another day in this journey we call life!