The difference between succeeding and failing.

There are times when I thought I could do things, and I couldn't. Like when i thought my life calling was to be a doula. I fainted at the first birth I went to, before any birthing had actually happened. The mother looked down from the bed and called, 'Ashley, are you okay?' and I wasn't really. I felt like i had failed her, and Something i wa sure i could do was all turned upside down. I couldn't get the boy I loved through high school and the four years after to love me back, though his letters got me through the first 3 lonely months of my mission. I don't regret this unrequitted love, and i realize now that sometimes failure makes our lives better for us.
I thought I could surely get a job at subway the summer Carl and I lived in Portland, turns out, I couldn't do that either. So instead of making sandwiches, I took to painting. A lot.

Then there are things I thought I couldn't do, but I did. Many things. Skiing down a double black diamond; I just close my eyes and let my skiis fall over the edge so that there's no going back. I finally know how to make a chocolate chip cookie that is fluffy and enviable. I get up early these days. I got married to a boy that i thought was too good to be real, and he loves me back. I got poked by a needle at least 40 times during my pregnancy and never fully fainted, and then, I had a baby. A little Remy. The other night Remy slept at the foot of our bed in his crib while we had guests in his room. Around five a.m. he woke up and reached his arms over the railing and cried for us. I sat up from my sleep in the dark light of morning and thought to myself, 'a human being. I cannot believe there is a tiny human being reaching his little arms out to me in the dark.'

The older I get, the more the category of things I thought I could do, but couldn't and the category of things I thought I couldn't do, but did, seem to blend into the same. It becomes more difficult to distinguish experiences as failures or successes. I think in part because I see myself fail and succeed in my home everyday and at the end of the day, i feel pretty alrigt Tired maybe, but also grateful. I no longer have many external forces to give me gold stars and pats on the back.
I am mostly in charge of judging the worth of what i do now and I see myself waver and then shine as a parent a dozen times within an afternoon. Successes and failures seem less interesting to me these days. I don't want to discount experience and process for the measly tally of an end result. When I look back at what I thought at the time were major failures, I dont remember them with a dark cloud over the memory. Thy are either a fantastic story, or just a good reminder to me that I will always be failing and succeeding in one way or another, and that is what I am supposed to be doing here.


kathy w. said...

Gorgeous. Thanks for writing this.

If you ever think that creating your children's book is maybe one of those things you can't do, I hope you'll remember this post, and tell yourself it's something you can.

paige crosland anderson said...

I seriously love your blog.

That's all. For now.

ginni said...

I like this post. It's been on my mind lately, too. Perhaps if I have time I'll write about it.

Celia said...

Something you should know about me is that I love your blog.