Sometimes, you fail miserably. You put forth all this effort and energy and finally psyche yourself up to go for it. Tell yourself you’re going to do it, you practice hard for it, you want to do it, you show up, and mess everything up. Trip and fall. Choke. Stumble through the words. Say LUBE-uk, instead of Lubbock, spill coffee on your brand new shirt, forget the essential names, burn the muffins. You research, and you work hard, and you come up with all these ways to do things better, make things better, and the kids complain and fight anyways. They drop the bowl they were helping you with, and now it’s shattered on the floor. And the laundry is still forever and always never-ending.
Oh, dear friend, I have been there. And, coming from the perfectionist over here, it’s no fun. I want to do it right. And I want to do it entirely right with grace and charisma and with all my hairs remaining perfectly in place and my apron as clean and crisp as when I put it on.
The only thing is, I am so very far from that in real life. So very far. If I cook, you will see evidence of it on me, in multiple places, my hair typically looks like it’s never seen a can of hairspray, and I can’t even tell you the last time I ironed something, nonetheless had it look crisp. I usually don’t even wear an apron unless my daughter insists on it when I’m brave enough to let her “help” me.
The thing is, the odds are not ever in your favor. You’re going to take a drink at that critical dinner, and the ice is going to come crashing down and splash water all over your face and whatever you are wearing. It’s going to happen. You’re going to mess up.
But, here’s the thing. Not only are you going to, but it’s essential. It’s important for you, and it’s important for your kids. For them to mess up and for them to see you mess up. Messing up and failing and coming in second or last is such an important part of life. It’s the stumbling and faltering and stuttering where you learn all the important things in life. Where you learn how to improvise, adjust, and re-arrange. It’s where you learn how to have a plan B and, perhaps, a C and D, as well.
Under pressure is how skills are honed, and new talents evolve. It’s where we learn the more profound things about ourselves, like how to laugh at ourselves and not take the little things so seriously. It’s where we learn how to do the best we can with what we’ve got. And that maybe plan B wasn’t so bad, after all.
It’s where we have the opportunity to teach our children that sometimes, life is just unfair. That things happen, and things fall apart, and you trip and fall. And will find yourself on the ground more than once in life. It’s where you have the opportunity to teach them that it’s ok. It’s ok to mess up. To not be perfect. To forget and fall short and wind up with a mess in your lap. To learn to be responsive to change. That, just because you made an utter fool of yourself, doesn’t mean you stop. It doesn’t mean you give up. And, it doesn’t mean that everything is going to be this way forever and ever and ever. It just says that you tried, and you’re learning, and you’re growing that you mustered up your courage and gave it a whirl! It allows you to teach your children that messing up is just as important to be celebrated as doing it right. Because messing up means we are going for it, sometimes against all the odds, but we are still going for it! It allows teaching grace – grace for others and grace for yourself. To acknowledge that we are all full of faults, striving with our best intentions.
Messing up and falling on our faces also presents us with the opportunity to decide if we are going to be mad about it and sit and pout and throw a fit, or are we going to do something about it?!
I’ve seen many adult tantrums, y’all, don’t even pretend like this doesn’t happen! I may or may not be responsible for quite a few, myself. And it’s okay to get mad. It’s okay to be upset that things didn’t go the way we wanted them to. Maybe even scream and kick a little. We can be sad or embarrassed or all the other feelings all at once, as well. It’s important to feel those things and acknowledge them. It’s important to say this sucks.
But it’s also important not to stay there. To not get stuck in that one spot. We need to allow those feelings to be the motivator to push us forward. To pick ourselves up off the ground, dirty t-shirt and all. Wipe our face and fix our mom bun, pick up the broken pieces of what used to be a mixing bowl, and try again. Keep going. Get back out there. Turn those burnt muffins into a blueberry crumble. Give plan B a perfect shot.
Sometimes, you have to do the hard. The grim and gritty. The not-so-fun, I’d-rather-be-anywhere-else-but-here parts. You’ve got to put in the time and extra elbow grease along with the blood, sweat, and tears. And bear it. Endure all the yucky stuff.
But, the hard doesn’t come without reward. The blood, sweat, and tears aren’t the only results from your efforts. There is also so much more waiting for you. Something so powerful in what comes next. Through looking up, and all of a sudden finding yourself on the other side. You are finding yourself stronger and braver and all the wiser. In earning every single bit of standing tall with the experience, you have now gained. The funny stories you can now tell. And the snow angels you made out of the piles of laundry on the floor.
You tried. And, you tried again. And, that’s worth that pint of ice cream you have hidden in the back corner of the freezer. Because, my dear sweet Mommas, we were all made for such a moment as this.
Seize the moments of craptitude.
Laugh at the time you got up to speak, and it looked like you peed your pants.
Be proud of the way you turned burnt broccoli casserole into cereal night.
Enjoy the moments with slippery little fingers that drop everything on the floor.
Embrace the good, bad, and ugly all together. Because it’s all these moments, wrapped up together, that make life so very beautiful.·