I’ve always thought that one day I’d do something that would make me exceptional. But I’m 59 years old and am not exceptional yet, so things aren’t looking terribly promising.
I don’t live in my lovely home anymore, job loss and a divorce took care of that.
I feel like I never really achieved serious success in any of my jobs. I was a sales rep and was OK. I was a news and traffic reporter and was pretty good. I’m still a copywriter and am pretty good. I’m a voice actress and audiobook narrator and I’m pretty good. I’m a blogger and thought that might be where I might really shine, but exceptional? Not yet. So, I’m pretty good at a lot of things, exceptional at nothing. I’m not saying this for sympathy; it’s just how I feel, which is really hard to admit.
And I keep asking for a sign. I keep hoping something will happen that says, “HEY, YOU’RE ON THE RIGHT TRACK!” Stick with this performance and writing thing, something good is coming.
I don’t know what I expect, It’s not like I’m Moses and a burning bush is going to come along and have a chat. And publishers don’t go looking for you; you have to find them. Writing takes skill, diligence and unbelievably constant self-promotion.
I would never admit this self-doubt to my kids, who both happened to be home tonight. Why add to their stress? It’s bad enough they feel insecure sometimes. I’m their cheerleader, I can’t fall apart. Besides, they’ve already witnessed my wilting self-esteem more times than I care to admit.
Tonight, when my daughter and I got home, my son was here having a bad day. He hadn’t eaten anything and it was almost five. He was grouchy and feeling bad that he hadn’t been able to put the final touches on my computer, which he was fixing yesterday. And my daughter was tired and starving, as usual.
So, I went into mother-mode and patched up a salad from last night’s leftovers and put the roasted chicken from Von’s on top with some quinoa with homemade salad dressing. My son ate that and my daughter’s lumpy, leftover, two-day-old burrito. I made some espresso for a quick latte for my daughter, who ate a little chicken. She popped popcorn and my son was diving into my banana bread with chocolate chips. Not a gourmet dinner, but they were happy. He told me my banana bread with chocolate chips was godly. They sat in the sunlight talking and eating while I watched.
I stood watching them and they looked so beautiful I took a photo. Then my son got up, came over and wrapped his arms around me in a big hug. He apologized for being grouchy and for not finishing my computer. He told me the food was great and that I was a good mom.
As I stood hugging him, with the afternoon sunlight shining on us in this small kitchen, I thought: Wow, this feels so nice. Maybe this is the sign. My kids are good kids. They’re kind, loving and good. Maybe I am a success at this, Maybe this what I’m here to do. Maybe this job will have a more lasting effect than anything else I’m pursuing. It was a huge post-Mother’s Day gift.
Maybe I don’t have to be exceptional on the world’s stage. Maybe I don’t need a big house. Maybe I can relax a little knowing that being a good mom to my kids, who seem to be turning out OK, is my job. Maybe I don’t have to be the next Ellen Degeneres or Nora Ephron to be considered a success. Maybe just being the good mom that my mom taught me to be is what I’m here to do. And maybe I’m starting to be OK with that.
Banana Bread That Will Make You Feel Like a Success adapted from Kona Inn Recipe
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup butter- very soft or melted
2 cups sugar
2 cups mashed, ripe banana – about six medium sized bananas
4 eggs slightly beaten
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Stir together flour, salt and baking soda. Inn separate large bowl, mix softened/melted butter, sugar, mashed banana, eggs and walnuts. Add dry ingredients and stir until batter is thoroughly blended.
Pour batter into two greased and floured (9×5 inch) loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees until toothpick inserted in center comes clean. Start checking for done-ness after 40 minutes of baking. (The bread sometimes gets very dark colored, but it’s not done until the toothpick comes out dry.) Let bread cool in pans a few minutes then remove. I butter the tops of the bread and wrap them in plastic wrap to keep the moisture in.