From the archives: Doing it wrong

[While I’m on creative sabbatical through the end of the year, I’m pulling some of the most popular posts from the archives and sharing them again. This post was originally written in July, 2012. Next week, November 25, is the third anniversary of Ben’s due date. This week marks the first anniversary of the death of a beloved friend’s husband. It seemed like the perfect time for this gentle reminder.]

Tonight I lay with Ada in the basement of my brother’s house, waiting for her to fall asleep and feeling resentful. We’re in Edmonton and it’s light until after 10:30pm so the time between kids finally quieting down and adults collapsing seems nonexistent. I hate being grumpy with her and there’s been too much of that this week. Buttons pushed by travel, heat, and fatigue. She’s been scared and needing me in ways I’ve had a hard time meeting. Steve gently wondered on the phone if it has to do with the time of year. I finally realized how quickly July 29th is approaching.

The second anniversary of Benjamin’s stillbirth.

My sister-in-law mentioned feeling sad that while the two older girls bounce and run and giggle together, their youngest, who was born 5 weeks after Ben died, has no playmate. My brother wondered if Steve and I had talked further about adoption. A friend sent a link to a picture of this statue.

The Child Who Was Never Born.
Sculptor: Martin Hudáčeka.

My baby is gone but not forgotten.

Lying in bed, I forgave myself for my struggle. Breathing deeply, my mind wandered to those I know who are in the midst of a journey with cancer. It drifted to the story of Anita Moorjani and her near death experience. I haven’t read her book, but the words came to me as though I heard her speaking them:

We are Love and our sole purpose in this life is to be Love.

My body relaxed, my breathing deepened, my muscles unclenched. And I remembered. We can’t do it wrong, this life. It’s impossible. We can make it easier on ourselves, or harder. We can feel victimized or empowered. We can live as love or live in fear. But we can’t do it wrong. I can choose to agonize over the little things, or not. I can fight what’s in front of me, or accept it. I can stress about the lack of vegetables in my daughter’s diet and the fact that I’ve been eating too many Trader Joe’s Root Vegetable Chips, or I can loosen the strangle hold of control, trusting that one day she’ll love kale and next week I’ll get more exercise.

I can’t do it wrong.

Happy, grumpy, tired, inspired, ecstatic, imperfect, heart-broken, human. It takes the pressure off. Can I do it better? Sure, if that means more in alignment with who I believe myself to be. If better means getting out of my own way more often and not letting fear keep me small. I’m like that airplane on autopilot, self-correcting whenever I get off course. The destination isn’t in doubt (though I have no idea what it will look like when I disembark) and the journey is both magical and brutal. It helps me to remember I can’t do it wrong.

Neither can you.

Forgive yourself. Take the pressure off. There’s no wrong decision. No bad choice. Live it. Learn. Auto-correct. You can’t help it. You’re brilliant. You’re human.

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