All is a difficult standard
Yesterday evening, my colleague, William, and I were discussing the week ahead for Ventur Inc. as I rifled through the pantry, organizing the mass of boxes following a trip to the grocery store and pulling the forgotten, whole grain Ritz crackers that had been purposefully pushed to the rear over time. I happened upon Alton’s Valentine’s Day candy bag and began emptying the contents to dispose of the Hello Kitty cards and sticky, half-consumed Hershey’s Kisses.
As I fingered each card, listening to William speak and reading the scrawled, incomplete names of Alton’s classmates, I came upon a small plastic sack filled with chocolate covered pretzels and tied with a slip of satin ribbon. Holding the vellum bag in my hand, I was struck by my own failure to produce such a treat. Unexpectedly, I started crying.
Following several moments of somewhat baffling tears, I explained I had not sent Alton to school with chocolate covered pretzels. It wasn’t solely the pretzels, but the intention. And it wasn’t simply that I hadn’t chosen to take on the motherly endeavor, it was that I hadn’t even considered it until that moment. Calmly, Will said with subtle defiance, “I suppose if you weren’t spending your creative efforts building companies you might want to dedicate your time to making chocolate covered pretzels.”
Whether overstated or simplified, his carefully worded statement held the words I needed to hear. All is a difficult standard. It’s common to hear statements like, “You can’t have it all,” floating insolently from the ranks of working mothers, but the matter is complex. It is possible that you could “do” it all; the clients and emails, along with Play Doh projects and homemade treats. But I am not certain you could feel it. Not really. It would be too much do and not enough be. And being is the difficult thing at hand.
Being a parent is difficult, though most of us try every day to try, and sometimes we successfully make frog-themed plastic bags filled with chocolate covered pretzels. (They were hand-dipped with rainbow sprinkles.) With this, I am trying to remember to let myself be, even just a little more.
Also, Trader Joe’s sells candied pretzels for $2.69 a bag.