I feel as though each one of my journal entries is beginning to sound the same. Boys this, lonely that, friends here, broken there. Not that all that shouldn’t be thought about, but I feel like I’ve been throwing myself one big pity party this week. I’ve been so self-centered and it’s been hard to focus on anything but myself.
I’m growing so discontented with this place I’m at in my life right now. All I can seem to do is look forward to graduation and the next phase in my life. I suppose it’s good that I’m not afraid of that change, but at the same time, I don’t want to miss out on anything in the here and now. I am at peace with where I’m at. I guess I’m just ready to move on to the next challenge—the next stage of life.
Next year, for nine hours a week, all four of our kids will be in school. This will be the first time in seven years that I will be alone for a consistent measure of time during the day. Is unprecedented the right word to use here? Maybe “precedented” is more accurate because I remember the occurrence of something similar. I remember what it was like to have time that was my own—walking through the library aisles with only a silence to accompany me; sitting down at Starbucks alone with whatever book I picked from the shelf.
I would be lying if I said I am not looking forward to those upcoming nine hours a week. But, I am not there yet. For now, I am still responsible for at least one child every single hour of every single day. And in this space, I’m left to wonder: Have I done enough?
At the end of A Wrinkle in Time, Meg and her father get separated by time and space from her little brother, Charles Wallace. When she realizes this, Meg is furious. She can’t understand how her dad would let this happen. Once they had found her father, she assumed he would take charge and get them all home. Instead, they lost her beloved brother, and she takes her grief out on her father. She directs the entirety of her rage directly at him until finally she is able to look at him with compassion.
“I wanted you to do it all for me,” she tells him as she leaves to go rescue Charles Wallace by herself. “I wanted everything to be all easy and simple, so I tried to pretend that it was all your fault. I was scared, and I didn’t want to have to do anything myself.”
Meg learned to see her father as a human being in that moment—full of faults and shortcomings and failures. He wasn’t enough for her but that was okay. He loved her. That was the best he could give.
Time has taught me that I will likely always struggle to be fully present wherever I am—that there will always be something to anticipate in the future. And because there is no shortage of personal flaws, I often struggle to focus on anything but myself.
Maybe the question isn’t Have I done enough? Maybe it’s, Have I helped my children see the whole of myself?
Maybe it’s better for them to see my self-centered tendencies and my struggle not to worry about the future. Maybe by exposing my faults more often, they won’t feel the need to hide their own. Maybe they’ll be more equipped to grow in their own necessary ways. Maybe they’ll feel my love in a different but necessary way.