Does every parent struggle with self-doubt? I kinda hope so.
Recently, my self-doubt has become a relentless nag. WHY is the life-work balance so hard to get right? WHY do I feel like I should be doing more, contributing in a more meaningful way? WHY can't I get the right level of fulfillment if I'm doing such "important work"--you know--raising these three miscreants?
Well, I've got no answers.
But I've got letters.
Two glorious, adorable letters, folded and taped for security, that landed on my desk just when I most needed to read them. Here they are:
Oh yeah. M&Ms included. Has better mail ever been sent?
In the interest of full disclosure, it's just one piece of paper, but the sheet clearly contains two hearts, each surrounding a separate note.
First up, Patrick's--
Here's the transcript:
Thank you for always being so sweet. [A lie, but I'll take it!] I know if you and dad weren't here, me, James, Elliott and even Riley would not be standing here. [Love! But wait. Does he think I birthed the dog??] It is also very fun spending holiday traditions, too. [Preach!] You are the [tragically, this superlative was ripped out by tape..., but I feel 96 percent certain it was positive!] mom in the world, ask James.
After that thoughtful allusion, James' letter needs no introduction.
Recorded by Patrick, here's the transcript:
Mom, I think you are my best friend. [For real. Is it just me, or are you dying?] I like my neighbors in every way. [Okaaaay. Really odd jump there, kiddo, but I'll keep reading.] Dear mom, I'm glad you will start me a show. [Sure. It's the least I can do.] I like to go to school. [Yup. In conclusion, ... yes. This all makes perfect sense!]
So, just as I do every single day, I back away from the edge and choose to laugh at these boys and this life and trust it's all going to be OK. Because if not, I have chocolate.