If I really look at this week, I did quite a bit. I finished the work project that I did half of while I had the flu. I did the FAFSA for older son and daughter. I took care of things while dear husband was out of town for 6 days. I did the homeschooling group activities newsletter (for the first time so it's not at all rote yet). I took care of younger son when he got sick again on Thursday. Plus, I did all the usual housework, homeschooling, etc. I'm fighting another tension headache from too much time spent in front of the computer monitor. When I'm just wandering the internet, or even when I'm blogging, I don't sit as rigidly as I do when I'm doing work or practical things.
But, instead of feeling good about what I've done, I feel like a failure because of parts of things. I couldn't get the formatting on the newsletter exactly the way I wanted it. I should have gotten the FAFSA in earlier (it's earlier than the deadline, and, really, that's all that counts). I can have a long conversation that goes well, and end up feeling like a failure about a small part that didn't. One even slightly negative comment from someone makes me feel like I'm a failure in my relationship to them.
I feel like a failure because I didn't go to church today. I have to think really careful about this one. I'm really hoarse so singing would have been a bad idea, particularly because today's anthem had high soft parts which have been really bad for my voice every time we've rehearsed it (I end up constricting my throat, and it can take me half of the next piece to loosen up again).
Why am I hoarse?
The first morning, when he was feeling miserable and really disheartened about being sick again (he only had a week of feeling good between the flu and this), I pulled one of my favorite books, T.H. White's The Sword and the Stone, off the shelf and started reading it to him. He absolutely loves it! In the middle of the section about training birds of prey, I asked him if he understood all the words, and he replied, enthusiastically, that he didn't know a number of them but he was enjoying it anyway (then we went back and talked about some of them)!
It's pretty much the only thing he's been enthusiastic about since he got sick so I keep reading longer than is good for my voice.
So, why am I feeling guilty about church and letting people down (actually, they did have enough sopranos, and I can't do the high, quiet part well anyway so I don't think my absence really made a difference) rather than remembering my starting-to-be-gangly, sick, bleary-eyed twelve year old with a hacking cough sitting in the sunshine across from me at the breakfast table and smiling at me as we share our good humor at the antics of King Pellinore and Sir Grummore as they attempt to duel?
If I could keep that in my head, I wouldn't feel much like a failure at all.
In fact, I could probably take out the "much" in that last sentence.
[Note: I love this edition of The Sword in the Stone. I found the receipt; it's still in the book. We bought it from the Regulator Bookstore in Durham on May 5, 1995. Older son was 7; daughter was 3; and younger son wasn't even an idea yet. The top of the receipt says: "Regulator Bookshop: On the street for 18 sweet years." On the bottom, there's a quote by Dorothy Canfield Fisher: "A mother is not a person to lean on but a person to make leaning unnecessary."]
[Really, the question is - why do I judge myself only on what I've accomplished recently?]