Amazing Parents

Sometimes it\’s AMAZING. Sometimes it\’s just A MAZE.

Challenging Mediocracy

A year ago I was in a fairly manageable time in my life. I was finally getting the hang of this darned parenting thing and my youngest baby was now 3. I was still nursing, but now only one. I loved my husband and I thought he loved me. I thought we were moving forward together in our lives. We had a nice, middle-class home, in an average, middle-class neighborhood.

Our income fell nicely in the middle of the graph compared to other citizens of my land. I could buy cheese — not the really good kind I once had — but the local kind that I still thought was good. I drank wine at dinner and vacationed out of the country at least three times a decade. I could get my nails done at the salon if I wanted…although I rarely wanted. And I slept in sheets with high thread counts that matched the drapes. The large-screen TV left on all night glared against the coordinating, satin walls.

We had a brand new toy hauler, title in hand. Same with the truck and the rest of the stuff. After market, custom motorcycles. The family minivan. And three dogs to match. My dishes weren’t always done, but when they were, the new porcelain sink looked really nice. It was all just average. Adequate. It was not really great, but definitely not bad. It was mediocre across the board.

Then one day I woke up and my husband was gone. Along with him went his middle-class paycheck and all the toys. Worst of all, I lost the life I had come to know. The life I had built for my children. That feeling of being just right there, safely in the middle. Poof. Just like that. It was all gone.

I starred at my kids and we all cried. They wanted to know why and I stumbled at the answer. At that time, I still didn’t really know why. All I know is that we cried. Me and my kids. We cried again and again. In the middle of the night I would grab the phone and call Nelly sobbing. From a fetal ball I would clutch my stomach and cry out to her, “Why can’t I stop crying?” She would say, “Because it’s just so sad. You’re just really sad. And it’s ok. I won’t leave you.” And I would just sob. From the hurt inside me, but also because somewhere inside of me I could recognize the amount of love she had for me in those moments. And I couldn’t even express to her how much I needed to know she was with me. I just cried. And she just knew.

At some point I crawled into bed and didn’t get out. I don’t know how long exactly. But it was weeks. Maybe even months. I don’t really know. For months I was just so dysregulated, so shut down, that I couldn’t even enjoy The Price Is Right. (Yes, it’s true.) And it isn’t about that stupid show. It’s about what that show meant. That stupid show was just the routine I knew. It would play in the background as I did chores and fed the dogs and painted my daughter’s toenails and answered emails. It was just noise that had never bothered me before. But now it did. The noise hurt. It hurt every inch of my empty body. And I just wanted it all to go away, to be quiet, to leave me alone. I didn’t even see the showcase showdown for like 4 months. I just laid in bed. Sometimes crying. Sometimes just completely still. I could not think straight or read or eat or sleep or speak. All I could do was hurt. All the way from my toes, up through my veins. All the way up to my forehead I could feel it hurt.

Because when I lost that mediocre life, with it’s mediocre house and it’s mediocre toys….it’s mediocre dogs and it’s mediocre sink….the mediocre minivan and the mediocre sheets….I also lost my mediocre love. That kind of love that falls just in the middle of the graph. It wasn’t really good, and it wasn’t really bad. It just was. And I could have gone on like that forever. Because although it didn’t feel too terribly good, it also didn’t feel too terribly bad. He never beat me, but he also never held me. He didn’t yell at me, but he also never laughed with me. It was just there, taking up my mediocre time, existing in it’s mediocre space. Defining me as mediocre in every way.

How often do we do that kind of thing? How often do we settle for what’s just below whats great? And why? Are we scared or are we stuck? Or do we just not know anything else to do or any other way to feel? Sometimes it’s just like that and we never know why. But I know why. I had lost myself. Somewhere. I was just vague, like fog on a cold morning. You know it will dissipate eventually, but for now you just drive slowly with your lights on.

Well, it’s time to climb the mountain, far above the fog line. From the top of the hill you can see below, to the place where you have just been. And it seems like a long way down, but it’s not. You can be down there in an instant. And it’s not safe. And it’s doesn’t feel good to have to drive slowly, always with your lights on to see farther and farther ahead.

I want to just enjoy this moment. Because what I realize now is that this isn’t the saddest thing in my whole life. Sometimes it feels that way. Sometimes it hurts like it is. And in those moments I will take gentle care of myself and allow others to support me in their way. Because it’s ok to feel that hurt. It’s ok to be that sad. And it’s ok to cry.

But it’s not ok to get stuck there.

What I realize now is that this experience has challenged me and everything I thought I knew about marriage and love. Neither of which were ever intended to be mediocre in any way. They are sacred and impenetrable. They are infinite and undefined. Love is special, unique, highly valuable, far more than any toy. It should never be taken for granted, nor treated with indifference or disrespect. When you have love, you are obligated to make it shine. And if you are lacking it, you are beholden to find it.

And suddenly I think I can do this. I think I can rise above the fog, above my mediocre existence. No, I know I can. Because when your mediocre life comes to an end, it’s not time to shrink back. It’s time to become more than that. It’s time to challenge mediocracy and prove all the negativity wrong. Break the loop. Bring in new energy and thoughts and a positive presence. It’s time to become something extraordinary. Something superb. Something pinnacle.

And that’s what I know I really am.

So here’s to fromageries and mountain tops and love that shines. Here’s to me and my superb-ness. Let’s just say that in many ways this is the first day of my life.

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August 7, 2008 - Posted by | A New Paradigm

2 Comments »

  1. Dude, I will always love you. My love is deeper than the ocean, stronger than the wind, and sweeter than the song of a whiporwill (or however that country song goes). I wish I knew the right thing to do or say. But I am so happy to know that I have helped in even the slightest of ways.

    Comment by smelly | August 9, 2008 | Reply

  2. Hey there-
    As always, you have the aMAZEing ability to use your personal experiences to teach others around you. Bless you for that! Hugs from afar my dear~!

    Comment by Danny | August 9, 2008 | Reply


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