Failure is Okay

“Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.” ~Mia Hamm
This is a hard topic. I know there are harder topics out there…but this is hard.

Parenting is hard. I love my kids. I would bend over backwards for them, kill for them, die for them. I love how intelligent they are. They have this way of just knowing, even if I don’t say anything, if I am having a bad day or feeling a bit down. But this current situation is hard and it hurts and I feel, as a mother, as though I have failed my son.

My son. My son is a smart, funny, compassionate, sweet, adorable, goofy, distracted, geeky, nerdy but in a cute way, suffering from ADD teenager. Honestly he is so much more than that, but I am not here to wax poetic about how amazing my kid is (which he is). My son is dealing with some school stuff that we have all been struggling with since the first day, honestly. As a parent, it is my job to push him, to challenge him, to make sure he understands how to follow through with his responsibilities. Follow through at school is such a struggle for him. With his ADD, medicine might help…or it might turn him into a zombie with no appetite again and that is the last thing we need. But he gets distracted. forgets things. Loses track of when items are due. No amount of organization attempts have really helped him. School meetings, action plans, parent/teacher conferences…nothing seems to help.

We did home based online school for a while. At his request, I re-enrolled him into public school as he missed the social aspect of it. We were confident after his semester in a home school situation, with his grades up, he would be great in public school. We were wrong. He has struggled since the beginning. And we are facing a bitter truth: this won’t be the year he passes this grade level. At least, that is what it is looking like.

Failure is a bitter pill to swallow. Thinking back over everything that could have been done as a parent, and realizing you did everything you could only to end up with the outcome you were dreading and trying to prevent is a very frustrating experience. And as defeated as I feel, I can only imagine how defeated my son must feel. This directly affects HIM. In the past, I would simply make the decision I thought best for him and be done with it. As his father and I are divorced, and as my kids live with me, I would make that ultimate decision and not accept feedback from his father or anything else. But I need support on this. I need back up. I need to know I am not the only one frustrated with this situation and I am not the only one grasping at straws trying to help my son. So I made that hard phone call to his father, who is well aware of our son’s struggles, and I am dreading his response.

I don’t do conflict well.

Failure is scary. It hurts, stings, reminds you of your fallibility and that sometimes, things don’t always work out the way we want them to. I refuse to look at this as a dead end, though, This is not the end for my son. He has many years of school, mistakes, proud moments, failures, and successes left to him. My job, as his parent, is to encourage and support him through all of these moments. His failures are not my failures and his successes are not my successes. But I can love him through all of it and that is the best, as his mom and biggest cheerleader, that I can do.


“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.” C. S. Lewis

Baby Steps

“No, this is not the beginning of a new chapter in my life; this is the beginning of a new book! That first book is already closed, ended, and tossed into the seas; this new book is newly opened, has just begun! Look, it is the first page! And it is a beautiful one!”
C. JoyBell C.

I will try to start and end these posts with a quote. But no promises.

It’s Monday and I am frantically pounding out these words as I struggle to make all the jumbled mess of half thought through ideas form and congeal to make some sort of sense. I have started and stopped a half dozen different blogs. Each one trying to be something I thought the reader would want rather than what I really want to write. And each time, I stopped writing. Not because I wasn’t interested in what I was writing…strike that. It was because I was too interested in being the kind of writer I thought people wanted. Brilliant, witty, firmly planted in the soil of my convictions, hoping to grow a readership writing about shit I had no business writing about because the experience needed to actually write well about those topics was barely there and not seriously taken.

“Write about what you know” is a phrase I have heard and read so often I am beginning to associate it with the “P” word that I hated so much growing up-“Potential”.  “You have so much POTENTIAL” they would tell me, frowning as they looked at my grades, wondering where my head was. I was an A B C student. I liked A’s…but they were never as important to me as they were to my parents. But that word, potential, was shoved down my throat for my entire school career…potential to get scholarships, potential to letter, potential to be something great…wait…why am I not already “great”? I wasn’t a bad kid. I participated in normal crazy teen aged antics, but I never got myself in so much trouble like some kids I knew. My brother was a track and cross country star and apple of my mothers eye. My sister was a straight A student who could do no wrong. I was the one who didn’t seem to fit anywhere…but I had “potential”.

Today I find myself uttering those same words to my children and I understand a parents frustration, MY parent’s frustration, in knowing how much your child can accomplish only to watch them seemingly waste it on frivolous things. But…I haven’t been a child in almost 20 years so perspectives have changed. But sitting here, I realize something that I never realized before. My fear of not meeting their expectations, my fear of their belief in my “potential” strangled me in a way that only hurt me. And I still do things like this today.

My point is all of this is that I will no longer write so that I might please a set group of readers who have beliefs or expectations about my potential as a writer. I know I am a good writer. Now, I need to do what I love best and actually write.

“There are as many worlds as there are kinds of days, and as an opal changes its colors and its fire to match the nature of a day, so do I.”
John Steinbeck