Something other than germs snuck in the side door of my house during this pandemic. I’ve been trying to put my finger on it, but it is slippery. Like you, I have been a disaster at trying to work from home. Like you, I have been resisting taking good care of my health. Like you, I now know that all teachers ought to be paid 24 million dollars a year. Like you, I have been overstimulated every day with cooking and constant mom mom mom mom mom mom mom moms. Like you, I now hate most pants. Like you, I've had to hold hands with loved ones as they brace for massive collapses of health, business, and security. Like you, I have been finding weirdly amazing moments of bonding with my daughters. Like you, I’ve joyfully played board games and laughed over ridiculously endearing behavior. And like you, I’ve found those lovely moments only after crying silently in a closet and thinking that I won’t make it through this in one piece.
It’s slippery because it’s both ends of the extreme. It is joy and dread. It is safety and terror. It is known and unknown. It is irritation and true love. It is saturation and emptiness. It’s all of the things. I feel washed back and forth between these distant edges endlessly in one hour. It reminds me of the ONE time (read: never again) I went deep sea fishing in Mexico. The sun was shining perfectly, the air delightfully warm but not too hot, the fish all glittery under the translucent veins of the ocean. But oh my god, the waves gave me the worst motion sickness of my life. And in my distress, I realized that I had no idea how long I’d be out to sea - so far out to sea. I just wanted to get my feet back on land. That feeling became so desperate that even the delightful parts felt like burdens. Screw you, happy dolphins. Screw you, tropical sun. Screw you, gorgeous horizon. Screw you, vacation. GET ME ON LAND. Stop this feeling immediately.
Alas, we can’t stop it. We are fully in this, aren’t we? We are. I don’t know about you, but my brain loves to summon Catastrophe Gremlins whenever I get fully in something, whether it be good or bad. If you don’t know these gremlins, let me introduce you. They are named “What If” and “Your children won’t survive” and “Climate change will be worse” and “You should cancel Netflix because $$$$$ will be gone forever” and on and on. They have committee meetings in my head as often as your boss likes to have Zoom calls. Nothing gets done either, just a lot of task mastering and problem presenting. And they are certainly all over caffeinated.
So, why am introducing you to all of this? Because I was tempted to use the month of May to help us all be better warriors and to stay tethered to our best selves during this time. I was going to encourage us to agree to show up every single day without fail, maybe even twice. We will burpee our way out of this mess and sweat-shine our way to solutions, I thought.
And, nope. Not happening. I am not going to join that chorus. I am however going to use the month of May to celebrate how much we are screwing it all up but still surviving. We are going to celebrate our Mom fails, full-on and without apology.
Oooof. Just as I wrote that, I started to get a bit emotional. I realized that despite it all, my children are getting through. Despite it all, I am still showing up. And each day, I am opting in to the repair process, rather than the rat race. Above all else, this is what I want my children to learn about me and about life. I want them to know about repair. I want them to associate failure with laughter, grace, and curiosity. I want them to buffer a hard day with movies and self-care. I want them to be ok with the amorphous existence of being human. I want them to feel the tension of unconditional love that doesn’t mind extremes and changes, it just is. Most importantly, I want them to learn to never ever take life seriously and to laugh at themselves at every chance they can.
Maybe you’ll join me this month in this celebration of our very best fails. We at headquarters are currently gathering hundreds of tales of failure, as provided to us by our very own members. Each day, we will share at least one with you. We will laugh together. We will breathe. We will not hide. We will get through. Oh, and you’ll also be doing either 5 or 15 minutes of daily exercise with me. Because getting stronger is a welcome result of it all, isn’t it?
Sign up today. Click here to register, either a new member or a current member. Oh, and hey … bring a friend. You can gift her access to the challenge and you all can laugh your way out of this crazy time together.
See you soon.