On Friday, I said that I believe that my adventure in changing my menu to one full of whole, plant-based foods will be more fun if I just accept the foods for what they are rather than trying to make them be something else. Cashew and almond milk frozen desserts are better than ice cream to me; but, no amount of wishing is going to make vegan lasagna taste like my Nannie’s with its pounds of meat and cheese. If I try to compare the two, the vegan version is going to come up WAY short. Every. Single. Time.
As I thought more on the subject, I concluded that this may actually be the key to genuine contentedness – accepting things for what they are, I mean, although lasagna is a good route, too.
Looking back, I believe that the times of my life when I’ve been the most discontent and the angriest were when things weren’t going the way I had envisioned. I had this idea of what I wanted and I kept trying (unsuccessfully) to make my reality fit the ideal. Obviously, this endeavor was doomed to failure from the start and I found myself constantly annoyed by the failure.
I never wanted to be a single mom. I wanted the whole picture book family thing with a houseful of children. There were times in my son’s life when I was angry that I didn’t have that. Fussy, teething baby? Guess who’s going to soothe him. Nasty diaper? Guess who’s turn it is to change him? Cub Scout camping trip? Guess who’s sleeping on the ground. As a single parent of either gender, it’s always your turn. You’re always the one up to bat and in the batter’s box. You don’t get a break and it can be frustrating. In addition, my dad and I made great memories growing up and I wanted my son to have those same kinds of memories. I was often angry that he didn’t and wouldn’t.
It would be nothing short of a lie to say that I parented alone. My family were great. My parents, my sister, my niece, my cousin Jeanna, my aunt Judy, both of my aunts Barbara and many, many friends were there for him and for me. And, because there were so many of them, he got so many more perspectives. Before his second birthday, he’d been to four countries on three continents. He has lived all over the country and has survived one of the biggest natural disasters in the history of the US. As he told me recently, “We’ve been through the shit together, Mom” Even with my wasted energy, we had plenty of adventures and made lots of great memories along the way.
Looking back, the only thing I would change would be my own attitude. I would fret less about what we didn’t have and enjoy more what we did. I would have built a few more blanket tents in the living room and a few more bonfires in the yard. I would have been (and resolve to be) more content with what it is, which is a great and wonderful life.