It was one of those rare conversations with my mom that lasted more than a 15 minute check in, how ya doin, kids ok, love you, have a great day, byebye. She is an emergency room nurse with a wacky rotating schedule and with three kids at home, sometimes I feel like my schedule is as unpredictable. So our conversations although pretty frequent (once or twice a week) are usually brief, information sharing with a little humor mixed in.
So back to our conversation. We were talking about my childhood dreams of owning a farm some day that inner city kids could come stay for summer camp to learn how to collect chicken eggs, weed a garden, and pick sugar peas straight off the vine. About the years of education and studying that I haven’t used in 8 years besides a sidebar mention in conversation. About the hundreds of hours I volunteered in our last community and how I don’t even know which direction to begin here. The school, the military community, my neighborhood, and simply our home. It’s been two months and there are still too many boxes for comfort in the garage.
She interrupted my rambling. ”So what has been your goal for the last 7 years since Jacob was born?”
“To not go crazy coping with all of these deployments, and moves, and wacky transitions and raise our children to be responsible adults who will be considerate of others and understand there are consequences for your actions.”
Mom – “And have you succeeded?”
Me – “Well they aren’t out of the house yet!” Only eleventy billion years to go until that happens…
Mom – “Think about it. Ever since you and Seth decided that you would be a stay at home mom for your children, your primary goal has been parenting. All that other stuff? It’s just extra. Why can’t you see that you are already a success?”
My mind was racing. But. But. But. But. I could be doing things better. I could be more organized. I could have a color coded meal plan. I could have been tutoring my children in German. I could have. I could have. I could have. ”I don’t feel like I’m succeeding…”
“Look at your children. They are kind. They are funny.
They are happy. They test limits. They feel safe.
You are succeeding.”
Somehow in the midst of 3 deployments, 3 babies, and moving around the globe, I had lost some perspective.
It isn’t about making the most money, it’s about creating something of worth.
It isn’t about having a perfect house, it’s about sustaining a sense of home wherever you are.
It isn’t about pleasing others, it’s about preserving relationships of value.
It isn’t about measuring up, it’s about enjoying the work in progress.
And really? When it comes down to it?
Failure – is giving up.
Success – is what happens when you just. keep. going.