A few years back, Max called to ask me to bring home pepperoni hot pockets. I said, “How was your day?” He said, “Actually not that great.” “Oh,” I said. “You know, I think you’re starting to go through puberty.” He said, “MOM, I HAVE BEEN GOING through puberty. It’s very stressful.” Oh I understand. Because adulting – same.
A few weeks ago, I texted Max and asked him if he wanted me to get him anything from the grocery store. He texted me back: “Can you get Oreos, milk, cheezits and hot pockets. I need it for my stress eating diet.” I doubled up on that request. Because -well, just – same.
I just bought Max more pepperoni hot pockets and the other stuff on his list. I know. They’re not healthy. But let’s be real. It’s all relative. My boss said to me several times when I was struggling as a first-year attorney. “Perfect is the enemy of done.” What we do – and what my sons do – are with an intent to make this world a better place because we were here. It does’t have to be perfect. Maybe if it’s done with love, it’s perfect. I’d like to think so.
There’s a lot of perfectionist notions, great sweeping assumptions, that could give way to done. Or at least to the next step. Like: Getting to the perfect weight. Falling in love with “the One.” Eating organic/vegan/carb free/keto all the time time. All of these perfectionist goals have a silver lining. They can be subject to change, Which means, to get there, wherever you want to be, just means you have to change your mind. That’s the greatest power you have, by the way. To take a step and not judge yourself for it. And to know that the goal is whatever makes you happy, whatever that goal may be.
About a year ago, I had a text conversation with Max:
Me: I’m sorry I yelled at you this morning. I was having a bad morning and I shouldn’t have taken it out on you.
Max: The damage is done.
Max: Jk. I love you Mom.
Me: I love you and I’ll pay for therapy.
Max: It’s ok. I’ll sell my body to make the money.
It is easier to be mad at yourself and admit defeat than to take one step towards a goal. It’s hard to apologize when you’re wrong. It’s hard to let something go from your life and admit it no longer serves you. Both are equally difficult. And equally necessary. You can’t take the next step if you’re stuck in the past.
My kids have never let me off the culpability hook, so whining about change has never been an option. For me or for them. Whether they know it or not, my responsibility to raise good men has been the underpinning to almost all of my major decisions. I am a better person because of this, I think. I may be a better human overall because I’m their mom.
As I write this, I am waiting for my Max to come home from his latest gig so we can finish college applications. As I write this, my Shane and I have come to an agreement about how to take an online class on writing together, which took some serious texting and a few smart-ass (typical) comments. As I write this, I realize I am hungry and I go downstairs and warm up a pepperoni hot pocket. Pretty sure Max will be okay with and understand me eating one of his stress diet staples. Often, as I am sure you do, I get stuck in what I should do versus whether what I am doing is right. And then my sons remind me.
From Max’s tenacity, I am reminded that if you get to a place where you are stuck, you just have to keep going until you are not stuck. From Shane’s steadfast calm and smart-ass humor, I am reminded that wins may be incremental but as our Samurai ancestors knew, incremental courage wins the war. And that is how imperfectly “done” will change the world. Which is really the point. We want this world to be better for our kids. And so I’ll get up tomorrow to be better and to do better. For my kids. And for yours. Keep going.