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This year is nearly over. I am ready for it to end. Aside from my lovely trip to Savannah and the August dinner party, this year has nothing to recommend it. It’s been full of strife, frustration, uncertainty and sadness. … Continue reading

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Most of the time, once I post something I don’t go back and read it again. It feels odd to me and I can’t explain why. So what I am about to say may have already been said. It would not surprise me. I beg your forgiveness in that case.

Recently, I’ve been haunted by the niggling feeling that something is just a bit off, just a bit out of reach. Something I can’t even define, which is irritating since it’s hard to fix something you can’t name. It feels like the gear is not quite right or maybe the scissors have a nick that always misses a piece of fabric, repeating the entire length. But you need that fabric cut so you keep using the scissors with the nick, even though you know the final product won’t be quite right.

If I’m honest, I would say that it’s at least partly due to doubt. Doubt that I am on the right path, doubt that I can trust my instincts, doubt that I am doing and saying the right things. For someone who tends to be anxious in the first place, it’s a sticky place to be.

Some of this doubt comes from a feeling of time running out, especially when it comes to living with two teenagers. The words in my head come out of my mouth, enter some completely discombobulated translation machine and fly into their heads as who-knows-what. All I know is what they are hearing is not what I think I am saying. So what they spew back is, well, not usually pleasant. Hence the doubt about trusting my instincts and saying the right things. What if I’m not? Their time remaining under this roof is short (I hope) and I fear I’m screwing them up even more. Half the time I’m pretty sure they don’t even like me.

There is no doubt that I’ve failed in areas I’ve wanted to succeed in for a long time. Let’s face it, people: I am not a clean freak. I do not have that gene. Combine that flaw with a small house, and you might see where I’m going with this. My daughter claims she won’t invite people over because the house is a mess. Her own room tends to Hoarder Stage 4 – no doubt I have passed that failing along to her. Time is running out to fix that, too. So I am trying. I don’t want their clearest memory of childhood to be a messy house with piles everywhere.

When you’re weighed down this way, everything gets second-guessed. Which is usually an exercise in futility. And round and round we go. Until one magical day when you pass through some invisible veil of clarity and realize some of the weight is being held down by your own two hands. Maybe all of it. Maybe you’re clinging to emotions and pain about things you can’t fix. So you let go, finger by finger, until it slowly melts away. You move your head slowly, testing the new lightness, looking ahead of you. You start to see possibility, all clear and sparkly, not soul-sucking failure.

No doubt I am still doing it wrong, but now I know I am also doing the best I can. It will just have to be enough. I’ll keep telling myself that until it’s true.

 

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