The week after my husband moved out, I knew the real test would begin and the questions were always the same, “How are you and the kids?” And my answer equally consistent, “We are fine.”
All my fears of being alone and how I would manage as the parent they lived with showed their ugly faces and challenged me head on. I waited for Incompetence to settle in next to me and remind me of my weaknesses.
I looked for Incompetence when I first changed the light bulb to the exterior light fixture that I had been holding off on. Nothing. I expected its presence when I changed the water filter in the basement, but it didn’t show up when I walked away dry. I knew for sure it would make an appearance when I started digging up the overgrown landscaping, but it turns out my kids know how to use a shovel and so do I. Little by little, I picked tasks I shied away from fearing that Incompetence would surely give me the lesson I needed and put me in my place. Working, making “healthy” dinners on the fly, and chauffeuring the kids around to different sporting events daily, while working my ass off trying to figure out the inner workings of my brain, feel my emotions and keep myself together, I knew Incompetence was lurking around the corner.
Six weeks later, it showed up in my back yard after I dug up the last portion of overgrowth, and decided to plant grass. I did not want to plant grass. I was terrified to plant grass. I KNEW that grass would not grow because despite the fact that I was doing it, I was living this life I feared, I was navigating through the sadness and loneliness, I was keeping tabs on my children and their well being, I was working and paying the bills and staring uncertainty in the eye…I still knew the grass would not grow because I did not know what I was doing. Insecurity told me so, fear laughed at the thought of me having a green thumb and even my intelligence doubted my ability to do it even after being given clear instructions and told it was easy.
But thankfully, I’m stubborn, so Incompetence stood by my side and whispered in my ear as I threw down the topsoil, spread the seed, covered it with hay, and walked away. Screw you Incompetence, what do I have to lose?
It rained for the next five days and when I finally made it to the backyard to consider removing the hay, I noticed a blade- or 100! Grass!! Beautiful, healthy looking grass was coming up! Pride came jumping through and knocked any sign of Incompetence right out of the way. Hope walked her pretty little self in and said “I’ve been here all along if you’d notice” and Joy gave me a high five and reminded me I’m always a rock star when I allow myself to see myself as such.
Just like the grass, we don’t need experience to help us grow and flourish and remove any threat of incompetence. Doubt and fear are only residents in our lives when we welcome them in and give them a place to sit.
And even though we know it…we always know it, we can all use the reminder that a little Hope, a little Pride and a lot of intention to find the Joy will always get us where we need to go. Even at times when our lives feel in constant transition and we are not always nourished, encouraged and cared for by ourselves in the ways we’d like to be, the stability of knowing we are loved by someone…anyone, will keep us growing even when we think we may not.
And that is how I know, without a doubt, that we are are just fine.