maple leaves, Berkeley,CA, point and shoot
What’s on my mind today are the ways in which motherhood has turned me into the person I COULDN’T TOLERATE before now. For starters, I used to be a compulsively early person. I inherited this from my parents who are also compulsively early. Dinnner at 8? They will arrive at [7:30] at the restaurant looking mildly annoyed that you didn’t arrive sooner. Going to the airport? They will arrive FOUR HOURS in advance.
I am also this way, although not to such an extreme. I will wait in the car so as to not arrive too early. I will drive somewhere, park and go window shopping until just before the appointment. Matt has to bargain with me to leave the house later so we aren’t the dorky first guests at the party. (I LOVE being the dorky first guest!)
Not only am I obnoxiously early, but I CAN’T STAND IT when others are late. I am even a little bit smug about it all and regularly go on “I can’t believe they are late AGAIN!” tirades.
Anyway, all of that flew out the window almost exactly one year ago.
I woke up one day and realized that I am now that person I couldn’t stand. I show up late. I cancel at the last minute. I am too busy and forget to call. I fall out of communication. I don’t return emails. I leave the oven on, I let the toast burn, I let lunch burn, I let dinner burn, I forget everything.
I actually stood up my coach for not one but two coaching calls this month. As a coach myself, this is extra mortifying to me. I know what it’s like when a client is late or flakes. I would huff and puff and consider firing them. Don’t they respect me and my time? Aren’t they invested in this coaching process? How hard is it to pick up the phone at a designated time?!! This is why their life isn’t working! I would think.
Did I mention that I am now that person?
I know this lesson is not over.
I know I will eventually have the opportunity to become (if only for a moment) everything I can’t tolerate in others. I will be the mom yelling at her kids in the grocery aisle. I will be the crazy girl you can’t get away from at the party. I will be the annoying relative. I will be the a-hole on the cell phone at the restaurant. I will be all these things and more.
I believe there is a point to all of this. Something about compassion. Until we can be with our own imperfections and our own failures we won’t be able to be with others’. We have all of it in us; the meanie, the judge, the negative nelly, the martyr, the jealous friend… I want to be able to be with all of those parts…not to make them wrong but to notice them, and teach Ben that to be human is to be beautifully imperfect.
I was talking with SARK about all of this and she remembered this incredibly fitting quote: “Until we have become that which we are demonstrating against, we will have made no progress.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
I suppose I am making progress.