I try to be honest, raw, real with everything I write, with everything I say. It’s the way I know to be authentic, and it’s the way I know to be true. My hope has always been that my honesty helps someone else, too, someone else struggling with depression or divorce or a certain parenting issue or the pair of jeans that no longer fit.
A couple days ago, I took Lila to her first-ever swim lesson, her first-ever organized activity, and she loved it. I posted a picture of her beaming, proud face on Facebook and Instagram. I was so proud of her, tears stung my eyes. Many of you validated me and my offspring by hitting “like” or “love” on my photo (thank you).
What I didn’t post on Facebook was what happened yesterday when we showed up to swim lessons. The amazing teacher we had on Tuesday had been replaced by someone else. I’m sure the 16-year-old new teacher would have been just fine. But Lila took one look at him and made it very clear she was not getting in that water.
The way I reacted to this was not my finest moment (or my worst, but still). First, I tried comforting her (this didn’t last very long). Next, I tried telling her that, yes, in fact, she was getting in the water. NOW. That led to me carrying her to the edge of the pool and placing her in the water. She immediately began crying and climbed out. Next, I threatened the penultimate consequence (and my greatest bartering tool) of No Screen Time. She thought about it for a few seconds and then choose No Screen Time. Tears rolled down her cheeks. I huffed and puffed. I grumped at my husband, who had left work early to meet us at the pool so I could leave the lesson early and take our 7th-grader to orientation at the 8/9 School, where he will go next fall. We had just rushed to the pool from our oldest daughter’s gymnastics class. And I really had to pee.
I like things to go as I’ve planned. I’m very uncomfortable when they don’t.
I hate this about me.
But there it is.
So, world, the picture I should have posted on Facebook yesterday was one of a frustrated, angry mom, a frustrated, exasperated dad (because his wife isn’t always nice) and a sad, crying, red-faced preschooler.
I didn’t take this picture, of course, because we don’t do that. We don’t think to take pictures of ourselves in less-than-ideal lights.
But I want you to know, sometimes our life is great and the youngest pea loves her first swim lesson and the mom is kind and personable and patient. And other times, well, it just isn’t that at all.
I want you to know that because it matters. You are not alone in the ugly or the mundane or the regrettable or anything else. I am with you in it all.
And, we are stronger than we think. So. Onward.