“If we are forever yearning for ‘more,’ we are forever discounting what is offered.” Julia Cameron
As I approach the last days of summer, panic grips hold of me: My kids are going back to school and there must be a long list of opportunities that I’ve missed.
I have to derail these thoughts of inadequacy with a tight grip because I know how quickly I can crash into a pit of despair. It’s a distraction that I’ve long relied upon.
I also like to rely on distraction itself as a distraction, and thus after derailing inadequacy, I launch in another direction: What last day of summer activity could I do with the kids that would unify us, elevate us and define us… as winners?
Pleasing a 46 year-old mother, a 10 year old boy, and a fifteen-year old reluctant teen derails this distraction all by itself, and I give up, and give in: to the end of summer and the end of possibility and the end of a better Mom.
Instead, I pull out the stack of thank you cards that I’ve been avoiding, and engage the whole family in writing notes of appreciation to some of the people who made the Summer of 2010 special–mainly relatives who hosted us on our recent trip “home.”
Next, I enlist the boys in “giving back” to the kitchen which has provided three meals a day and countless snacks all summer long. Aidan scrubs the cabinet doors and Lloyd does the counters.
As the boys work, inadequacy takes hold of me again with thoughts of what we might be doing instead… hiking, canoeing, miniature golfing, taking in a matinee, enjoying a leisurely lunch out…
But the truth is— our summer has been filled with that kind of fun–so maybe it’s time to cry “uncle” and simply STOP.
Maybe it’s time to follow the advice that I give to mothers and teachers as seasons end: Shift from goals to gratitude.
And so, without distraction, I do (or at least I try.)