I've been known on occasion to take myself too seriously. The last few weeks have been one such occasion. I'm feeling overwhelmed and uninspired. I've been forced (once again) to recognize that perhaps I'm not the mother of the year; this year or last. In fact, I've never been nominated.
Yesterday afternoon, while I was seeking escape from my lonely little pity party by watching another episode of The Secret Life of the American Teenager and finding solace in TV moms who have also been passed up by the mother of the year committee, Aidan found me and asked for my help. He's taken it upon himself to rebuild the Lego Batmobile George bought a few years ago. George and the kids have built this car two or three times, then they take it apart and put it away in the closet.
There are 1,045 pieces that make up the Batmobile, and 86 pages of step by step instructions to assemble the car. Talk about overwhelming. I sat down on the floor to help Aidan and started to worry that maybe we had lost some pieces along the way, or that Aidan might have missed some steps or put pieces in the wrong place. Here are two fundamental differences between Aidan and me: I don't like to follow directions and I worry; Aidan loves following directions and he doesn't worry.
I looked at the huge box of Legos sitting before me, then I focused on the page of directions that Aidan was working on, and I let my worries go. I helped Aidan, one step, one Lego and one page at a time. Together we accomplished quite a bit.
I have no doubt that as a parent I have skipped steps and put pieces in the wrong places. But this is what I learned about parenting while playing with Legos: When I discover a missing piece or a piece out of place, I can try to fix it. If I can't fix it, I can move on. If a piece is missing, I can find a replacement. If it's the wrong color, I just have to hope that no one notices.
In the end, despite missing, misplaced or mismatched pieces, the Batmobile will still look like a Batmobile. We can do our best to put all the pieces in the right places, but even if we screw up, it'll still turn out pretty cool.
I might not ever be the mother of the year, but hopefully I'll be remembered as the mom who sat on the floor and played with Legos (thankfully a position in which I find it hard to take myself too seriously). Now back to page 37 of the instructions; we only have a few hundred pieces left. I'll be back when it's finished and hopefully I'll be in a better mood.