People joke often, using the phrase, “livin’ the dream”. It’s generally when we find ourselves doing something not so pleasant right? And we choose to be sarcastic.
But here’s the thing. This is Mother’s Day weekend and as I sit here and contemplate…I’m happy that my two kids are, to an extent, living their dream(s). My son will graduate with his master’s next week. He has spent the last two years at the New England Conservatory of Music. He had the opportunity to study with a guitarist he admires greatly. He will now seek out ways to make a living as a professional musician. That’s not an easy task. But it’s been his dream as long as I can remember. And I’ve known him a while.
My daughter might not feel as though she is currently in such a state, as she is in the midst of final exam season at New York University. But, as I reflect, she has been able to achieve goals. Experience milestones. She texted me one night, a few year back, at 2am:
I’m in Paris Mom. Thank you so much for everything you did to get me here. Can’t wait to be here with you!
This was the year (2015) she was a foreign exchange student in the Czech Republic. She was able to take a short tour through Europe during the spring. Hence the message from Paris. As I mentioned she currently lives in New York. Another goal met. A dream. To live in a big city. Acceptance into a university with a not so accepting admittance rate. She works for an organization headed by successful people who accomplish meaningful things. She has interned with the New York City Hall and interviewed people she admires for Document Journal. All the while receiving compliments on her fashion sense.
I don’t mention all this because I’m a bragger. Or someone who wants to yell out the accomplishments of my children. I simply want to state that on Mother’s Day, of all days, I feel the need to announce my children are doing what they were put on this earth to do. And that’s a good feeling. And I also want to mention none of their achievements came easy. Hours and hours of practice time. Decisions to spend time studying instead of doing other teenage stuff. Taking bold steps and approaching people in high places. Grabbing the microphone and putting themselves out there. It didn’t all just come to them and they faced some pretty huge emotional and financial obstacles along the way. And still do.
Aside from all that. I hope they give themselves grace. Because I, their mother, don’t afford myself much. And I fear I have passed that onto them. They are hard on themselves. Unforgiving at times. And that’s a crappy way to live. So while I have presented them with every opportunity I reasonably could. And literally drove them to the places they now reside. I have unfortunately at times modeled a self expectation that is out of reach and unfathomable. And I regret that probably more than anything.
Love of self doesn’t come naturally for me. And I don’t think it does to them either. So I’m working on that. Trying to model a bit more self care and self approval. To not look at a photo of me doing something brave and only consider how chubby my arms look. But to focus on the accomplishments. The life, so far lived, well.
That’s a goal for 2019. As far as mothering goes. A better example of self grace. I hope it’s a goal for my kids as well.