Being good enough

It's raining like it'll never end. I brought Jack to school this morning, walked him in and then headed upstairs to finish photographing the new students. I knew I'd have to make it snappy as I still needed to get back, beyond our house, to bring Oliver to his first day of school. The boys' schools are in completely opposite directions, DC drivers drive slowly in rain, and the first few days after Labor Day, as folks head back to school and work, the roads are really busy and move at a snail's pace. I had a nagging feeling that the timing for all this just wasn't possible but I needed and wanted to do it all. As I sat stuck in traffic, trying to get to Oliver and T, my stomach started to hurt because I knew I'd never make it. Long story short, I arrived at O's school just after the classroom door had closed. T was wonderful- he and O had made a sign and taken pictures and O was thrilled. But this wasn't about him. It was about me, my expectations and what I'd wanted to be part of, and my feelings about missing it. I haven't missed much, if anything, of the boys' lives, certainly nothing like the first day of school. And as it hit me that it'd happened, I sank down to the ground and just started sobbing. T said O hadn't missed a beat and really hadn't noticed. The dear head of school, whom I've known for years now, was wonderful, and during the parent coffee, made mention of how much we mothers expect of ourselves. The whole, intense morning provided much to process and think about, and it reminded me that we all have limits. We literally cannot do it all, and that must be OK, we must be OK with being good enough. I've tried for years to embrace this notion more sincerely, but I know I still hold it at bay. And the only person who was upset this morning was me. Jack and I had time together, a mini-date; Oliver was thrilled when he walked out and I was there [and wasn't this a) great for him and T, and b) a real show of independence and thus a giver of confidence for him, even subconsciously], I finished my photos and they've been ordered. Everything is fine. Better than fine. But I feel so tired.

It happened. I missed something. I was late, and nothing bad occurred. The world did not fall apart, the boys are fine. Perhaps this will be an opportunity for letting go, for recognizing that being good enough is enough.