Why You Should Never Doubt Your Self-Worth

I’ve been wanting to share a story that happened a few weeks ago, during a time when a bunch of things were happening at once, so I needed time to process it along with all the other things, before I could write about it.  I have written numerous posts about the trials and tribulations of parenting (here’s one, and another, and another, just as examples), and it seems, of late, that subject material is plentiful.  If it’s not one child, it’s the other, and the best I can hope for is to keep my head above water these days.  And when life feels like chasing one crisis after the other, it’s easy to let self-pity creep in… Woe is me!  Nobody has all the drama I have!  Where is my Higher Power when I need Him?

So let me set the stage for this story:  it is mid-week, and I’m hustling to get elementary school child out the door for his 8 am chorus rehearsal.  Middle school kid is already on the bus.  As I’m giving directives (make sure your schoolbag is packed, get your saxophone, etc.) I glance over to the cubby where the schoolbags are packed and see that basketball sneakers have been left behind by the daughter who is already gone.  Now, this may not seem like a huge deal, unless you are armed with the knowledge that this child forgets something… lunch, sneakers, once she got onto the bus and left her entire school bag in the garage… at least once a week, sometimes more.  I am running late as it is, and her school is 10 minutes further away than the elementary school I am driving to, but I calculate, and tell my son to move even faster, because we are dropping off the sneaks before I take him.  I am into the garage, and he says, “I can’t find my saxophone.”

A couple of things should be noted here:

  • The saxophone is not a small instrument, and is made even larger by its carrying case.  It would be very difficult to misplace.
  • The saxophone is a very expensive instrument.
  • The saxophone, and lessons, were something that my son had to sell us on; we did not believe he was responsible enough to take this on.

Needless to say, I am not a happy camper at this point.  We determine that the best possible scenario is that he left it at school (which is a side story/lecture that could fill another post), but suffice it to say that I am ranting and raving about this issue for the entire ride to the middle school to drop off the forgotten sneakers.  We are, no exaggeration, pulling up to the school, so have been in the car for at least 10 minutes, and my son says, “Maybe I took the saxophone upstairs to my bedroom.”

I will just let your imagination run wild with my response to that conjecture.

By the time I unloaded him at his school, and was driving by myself, I was beside myself.  My poor husband made the mistake of calling to check in on me (he knew part of the calamity that was the morning), and I unloaded on him.  “I used to pride myself on being a stay at home mom, so that I could be there for my children, no matter what.  There was a time when being able to run a forgotten item to school made me feel good,” I said.  “But now I’m afraid I have engaged too much, and I’m doing them a disservice.  I’m so involved that they feel no sense of responsibility!”  We talked it through and decided that, going forward, I needed to let them suffer the consequences for their lapses, and that is how they would learn.

About an hour went by, I was running various errands, and my phone rang, it was the middle school calling.  I answered, and it was the Vice Principal of the school.  My daughter has been in that school for 3 years now, and I have never received a phone call from anyone other than the nurse, so I was more curious than anything else.  My daughter is definitely the one I fear school phone calls from the least.  Anyway, the Vice Principal, who seems to be very intelligent, and very concerned staff member, starts by telling me a story of his earliest days as an educator, and how he was out to save the world, and some student who seemed to be slightly off-track, so he contacts the parents, and, long story short, the parents try to have him fired.  So, for him, lesson learned, he will only do things by the book from now on.  I am interested, but am connecting no dots with how this story relates to me.  He then says, “Do you remember meeting me at the “coffee klatch” (an informal parent/teacher gathering)?”  I confirm that I do, and he goes on to say, “Well, I remember you, because you asked some insightful questions, and were so interested, and so engaged, and I was very impressed by your level of involvement.”

I would like to editorialize at this point in the story:  there were only about a dozen parents, and the whole point of the coffee klatch was for parents to get to know the teachers and administrators.  By no means did I do anything extraordinary in that meeting.

So again, to make a long story short (and this was long, we were on the phone for an hour), he just wanted to share with me some generalized concerns he had about my daughter.  There was nothing concrete, and no disciplinary action, but because I presented as such an “involved parent,” he wanted to speak with me informally and let me know his thoughts.

I am, of course, glossing over the emotion involved in getting such a phone call, and the fact that there was any concern at all about my daughter.  I kid you not, she is an angel, so it floored me that she would come to anyone’s attention in a negative way.  So, much to process on my end, and the long and short of that part of the story is a good one.  My husband and I were able to communicate with her in a very positive way, and, since then, there has been nothing but good that has come out of that issue.  I am forever indebted to the Vice Principal.

But the more relevant reason for my sharing this story:  if ever there is doubt in my mind that God is listening to me, I will have only to recall this day in my mind to clear away my doubt.  The very same morning that I voiced out loud my concern that I was “over-engaged” in the lives of my children, I receive a phone call from a seasoned professional telling me that he is only speaking to me this candidly because he appreciated how engaged I was in the lives of my children.

There are God moments, and then there are God moments!

Today’s Miracle:

I started writing this post yesterday afternoon, but was prevented from finishing it due to schedule conflicts.  In the interim, I “ran into” (no coincidences) the Vice Principal himself!  I was able to shake his hand and tell him how much his reaching out meant to me.  Crazy good stuff!

Posted on December 12, 2013, in Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Funny how these things manifest, or to be more accurate, how others see us as compared to how we see ourselves. You see yourself as engaged and the educator sees you as engaged…lol. But they are different things in your mind!! This reminds me of the 6th and 7th steps. We sometimes see something as a character defect, and wonder and hope and pray that God takes it from us. But it doesn’t happen. We do our best to act as if it has been removed, but it’s not sticking. After some time, we start to see that what we saw as a char defect was in fact an asset. It’s like my introverted nature. I prayed over and over to have it removed…to realize later that it’s probably where I need to be and what I need. For what, I am not sure, but I am getting used to the fact that I communicate in different ways. I am not that gregarious “good ol boy” who gets people frothy and lovey and all that. I don’t do zingers, and I am not good at coralling the masses. I, probably like you (as we are so alike), am more under the radar. Quietly doing our thing and slowly attracting those who are similar, or who enjoy that energy.

    So…this engaged thing. I don’t see a downside, unless it’s disturbing you. And you know what it takes to remove those disturbances 🙂 You’re a parent, as I, and stuff gets nuts. My kids are younger, but I too feel like that stuff gets in my hair. I guess it is what it is…lol. But you have always struck me as someone who is very engaged (in a good way!) and who feels deeply for their children and stand up when mama bear is needed. This is a far cry from the distant, alcoholic, unavailable mom, yes? I know which one I would want 🙂

    Blessing and hugs,
    Paul

    Like

  2. Paul, thanks for this feedback, I never considered the issue from this angle before (mainly because it’s comparing self to self, when it’s so much easier to compare self to others, but now I’m diving into the message of one of your posts!). When I compare my level of engagement during active addiction to my level in sobriety, then yes, I have won the battle the race, and whatever other analogy you can come up with (and, knowing you, you have thought of a dozen more!).

    Thanks, for this re-frame, it really helped!

    Like

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