My Dad loves sharing this story about me. It's one that I've heard him share time and time again, yet its message didn't fully reach my spirit until I became a parent myself...
Whenever I was in the 7th grade, I had one dream and one dream only - to become a member of the colorguard in my junior high school's marching band. I had watched and admired the junior high and high school colorguard for years and my chance to audition had finally arrived!
Getting to work
I attended all of the colorguard try-out clinics and even recruited the help of my brother's girlfriend and her sister who were stellar members of the colorguard during their time in junior high and high school. I was laser-focused at the clinics and private lessons, giving it my all and then some, but let's face it... Your girl was not a naturally talented spinner! I wasn't about to give up! Instead, I had a genius idea. I had my mom take me to the hardware store. I constructed my own flag, grabbed my boombox and found my place on the grass in my front yard right in front of the window where I could see my reflection.
I practiced and practiced and practiced and practiced some more. I would run home from school, grab a super quick bite to eat, snatch up my homemade flag, boombox and take my place on the grass in my front yard. Occasionally, my grandmother or mom would pull the curtains back, give me a loving glance and walk away. Sometimes my grandmother would step onto the front porch, asking me if I needed something to eat or drink, but she never asked questions. My hard work was on display for the entire neighborhood because I had worn out a little circle of grass in my front yard...
The BIG day
I welcomed audition day with great anticipation, anxiety, yet peace. For the first time in my little life I had fully committed myself to something. Never before had I worked so hard and been so dedicated and determined to achieve a goal. Of course becoming a member of the colorguard was my goal, but I had a feeling I would be okay regardless of the outcome.
My performance at the audition was less than stellar. My flag pole clanged into another girl's flag pole. I was a giant ball of nerves, yet the look on my face showed everyone I was there to conquer all.
So, did I get in the colorguard??? YES! I was elated, but my elation quickly turned into embarrassment whenever I overheard that I had the lowest score out of all the girls who auditioned and "made it." It didn't take me long to dust myself off and tap into that same focus, commitment and dedication it took to "get in." Over time, I was told that I went from being one of the "worse" members of the colorguard to one of the "best." In fact, I would go on to be my junior high school's colorguard instructor 5 years later.
Every time I come home to visit, I am greeted with a reminder of this experience. To this day, over 22 years later, that spot in our front yard is still worn down and never grows. Since then, I've lived through goals I've achieved and failures that I thought were going to keep me down. I've graduated from high school, undergraduate and graduate school. I've performed on stages, taught in classrooms. My two grandmothers have passed away. I've experienced heartbreaks and true love. I've given birth to two precious daughters. Through it all, especially in parenting, I question myself. Am I a good enough mother? Am I doing the right thing by my children? But then I think back to that grass that never grew...
Nugget of wisdom
Sometimes things have to die in order for you to live your best life... Old, negative, self-defeating thoughts about yourself must die in order for you to be the best woman, the best mother you can be. And guess what... YOUR BEST IS ENOUGH! Your best today may look a lot different than your best yesterday, BUT as long as you know and feel that you are fully committed, dedicated and determined to giving it your all, there is a peace that comes over you. This peace sustains you through those times that you think you are anything but stellar. It's not about being THE best; it's about being YOUR best.
I love you sister. YOU'VE GOT THIS! ;)