Small things become so big when they start to pile up on a person.
I feel like I have become a poster child for procrastination. I have honed the art quite well.
Lately, "income taxes" have been my unfinished business. Before that, it was "Christmas" looming over me. Before that, "reunion". Before that, it was our family's book project. That was a big one.
Six years of an undeclared deadline on a project that meant the world to me, changed me.
It taught me what "overwhelmed" felt like. The task became too big and too wide and too deep and too tall. It was bigger than life. And I couldn't see my way through it.
It taught me what the desire for "perfection" steals from a person. I didn't want to have any regrets when I put a cover on this project so I aimed high. I set the bar so high, I knew I could never attain my goal.
It taught me how easy it is to do "nothing", verses one small step at a time. When something feels so incredibly big, it is hard to believe that one short hour will make any difference in the whole scheme of things.
It taught me how much I need a "deadline" in order to complete the task at hand. Wishy washy ideas of whenever, however and whatever did not help. As much as I detest deadlines, I have learned to respect them.
It taught me a better way of thinking, approaching and listening to my Youngest Son when he has a larger than life assignment hanging over his head.
It taught me that "overwhelmed" can be a symptom of depression or cause a person to feel depressed.
In a nutshell, my six year struggle with the most important work I have done to date taught me "compassion".
I didn't appreciate those lessons as I trudged through the job I thought I may never complete.
Life has had many similar, yet oh so different, lessons.
It's funny how the words of my Oldest Son are coming to the tip of my consciousness these days. "I think I was depressed" are the words he uses to describe his high school years. Depressed?!? On the outside, looking in, I would have never in a million years described his behaviours as "depressed".
Back in the days of raising My Oldest, I was overwhelmed with work, responsibility, financial worries, raising a young and willful Younger Child. I came home from a long and stressful day at work and I didn't look beyond his words, moods and actions.
What was going on beneath the surface of My Oldest, as he walked the hard walk during his adolescent years?
He kept so very much to himself. I don't blame him. The foundation which was laid during his young and innocent years was so very flawed. How could I expect and hope for him to open up to me when our relationship was tenuous, at best?
He talks to me now. I am so very grateful for that. Because I see some of these very same issues coming to the surface within his youngest brother.
Life teaches you what you need to know.
I am so sorry I didn't know more when I raised my oldest child. But I am beyond grateful for the way the lessons I have learned along the way have made a profound difference in the way I parented from that day forward.
You just never stop learning.