Impossible Standards

You know the friend who always shows up with the home-baked batch of cookies that makes you look at your store-bought cardboard ones and sigh? Or the woman who can run circles around you when in your mind you are really an Olympian? Or the neighbor who is always put together and would never be spotted in the produce section with two-day old mascara and bed head?  How about the Mom who has got the most well-behaved, smart, good-natured and well-adjusted kids? How does she do it and how much does she charge for revealing her secrets?

I visited one of those Moms recently with my kids. We happen to be lucky enough to be related to her and her awesome offspring. Here is how part of the visit unfolded.

“Mom! She’s touching me!”

“He touched me first!”

” You lie!”

“Stop it!” Angry eyes. The Look. Clenched teeth. I Have Had It Up To Here.

And one embarrassment after another for three days…sigh.

Where did it go wrong?  How did this little person who snuggled while we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar become so sassy and defiant?

And what is my relative thinking of my stellar parenting skills and obvious lack of anger management?

At some point in the weekend I revealed the pedestal on which her rock star parenting and impeccable (almost-all-grown) children had been placed. And she was oh-so-quick to correct me and take herself down from her post up high. She proceeded to share some snip-its that revealed some cracks in her armor and some flaws in my thinking. Bless her.

Really?? Had I got it all wrong? Was there really a time when she didn’t have it all under control?  I had never seen anything of the likes she described. And having changed some of their diapers along the way, I have been around these kids for Y.E.A.R.S….and witnessed a lot of interactions between them. When did these transgressions happen?

Well, they did.

A little relief.  A little reality check. Thanks for that.

Moms, give yourselves a break.

However, this one did opt to make her fabulous cookies…Something to strive for!

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Mission Accomplished

So now the trip…My Mom always said it’s fun to have something to look forward to.  I feel like I have lived my life looking forward to things.  The upcoming concert, the big party, the wedding, the birth of a child and on and on.  The trip I was looking forward to for a couple of years is now over in a blink.   And looking back, Mom is right – the anticipation was fun!

Five women leaving their spouses and kids behind for adventure, Florida sun and sand, daily transportation by trolley, side-splitting laughter and snorts, inside jokes, vodka tonics (too many!) and very little sleep – how lucky am I?

It was so fun to learn more about these women in my life as the trip unfolded.  We had everything covered from the navigator who rode shotgun to the cook who prepared the best homemade scrambled eggs in recent memory.  From the “cruise director” who planned our big excursion to the best parallel parker who shouted turn by turn instructions from the back seat (thank you).  And for each one liner that had us all in hysterics I’m sure there is a stand-up comedian somewhere who is jealous.

I loved hanging out in the company of four great friends anticipating the half marathon we would all run together, the relief we would feel when it was over and the ensuing celebration.  Having put a lot of pressure on myself to make this race count and try for a “PR” or personal record I was very focused on making that happen.  However, I was never so relaxed before a race as on this trip. It could have been the location, the company I was with, the vodka tonics or the delirious lack of sleep. But it was a new and welcome feeling!

However the highlight of the race was not conquering the course or meeting the goal.  It was witnessing a friend face the unknown, overcome many hurdles in her training, doubt herself regularly and still show up no matter what. It was watching her smile and wave at the eighth mile and seeing that same smile at the thirteenth mile. Many times throughout the course I thought of her and hoped that she wasn’t wishing I had not dragged her into this experience! And when she crossed that finish line it was such a huge victory and we savored it with her.

I do not know when I will have another opportunity to experience something like this trip again. But that is not for me to worry about.  I have these sunburned body parts, these wonderful memories, these amazing friends. Mission accomplished.