I seem to have a knack for using holidays as a trigger for self-reflection.
I see how I am doing, how my kids are doing, how my wife is doing, and compare it to how I want us to be doing, or how I think we should be doing, and how everyone else seems to be doing.
Son, who fills me with moments of happiness, but more times with worry, frustration, loss, anger. He had a very bad night last night in terms of being able to follow directions and stay on task to do any chores or moderate his behavior during dinner. To the point that The Easter Bunny withheld many over-the-top gifts, that will now sit in a closet for other opportunities to be given for being a good boy.
Oldest daughter, who I want so much to do well in life. Eldest, who seems to really enjoy dance and musical theater classes and performances, yet has gotten close to the brink of having them taken away. More moments of joy per day/week/year than her brother, yet also provides times of worry, frustration.
She can be so thoughtful and kind, get sometimes blow an entire wkend wasting time of self-distraction than cleaning her room as a chore, to the point she did nothing for the wkend like go on a play date, as we told her when/then that she needed to clean her room, and have us "sign-off" on it as a good job, as a prerequisite for doing a play-date, or go to the movies, or such.
Youngest daughter, who was an oops/surprise! She is now two years old, and naturally a go-getter, yet also so messy/destructive as most 2yr olds are. Jury is still out on how she will do in life. So far, I do not see any 'special needs' symptoms that her older brother and sister have. I can only try to internalize the great lines from the movie "The Shawshank Redemption" that Red remembers about Hope, and it being a good thing, as he reads the postcard from Andy after Andy busts out.
So with Hope, I keep funding, and hoping, that all the ballet classes, swim classes, girl scouts, boy scouts, baby sitter for Youngest daughter, will all have been well worth it, and that 'my little family' will thrive.
The scary thing is that we basically spend month to month all that we take in as income. Car payment, dance classes, youngest baby sitter and such, works out to almost $1500/month of 'discretionary' spending. Family Car payments on 2yr old car and youngest only 2yrs old babysitter/daycare, so at least three more years of this course before I can hope we actually financially start to do be in the position every financial book and adviser show says to do: put money in savings. We don't do drugs, or drink alcohol excessively, or take vacations, or go out to dinner, or anything hardly ever. It all seems goes to bills, or activities for the kids' lives.
Even with Hope, there is also, when they seem to be doing poorly or struggling from my measure, my famous line I tell myself and others at times: I am the most successful failure I know. So on a day when most people are Happy, and full of Faith, I am feeling: I am the most successful _failure_ I know. ...As it is hard to look at myself in the mirror and not measure myself against how my little family is doing, since I accept, and am tasked for, being the primary provider, protector, and is-responsible-for roles.
So I estimate I need to be able to not 'lose it' or crack, or have a major setback in any way, for at least three more years. I will continue to focus on "doing my best," and telling my kids and wife as often as I can for them to also "do their best." ...So Hope I still have, but it is tempered by my thoughts that it is likely statistically low probability that nothing will go wrong for three years, and that 'hope is not a strategy', yet that is the position I find myself in, and the strategy I must persue.
Tags: 2013, reflection