It was already past my youngest daughter’s bed time.  

“Brady, gather your uniform!  You have a game tomorrow,” I said. 

“Ok, I have everything except my game socks,” she said.  

She looked again after I assured her that I’d washed them.  But it was late and we were too tired to care about her red game socks. We were certain we’d find them in the morning.  

We didn’t. I was aggravated and she was crying when she left for school with her brother and sister.  I waved them goodbye and marched back into the house, determined to find those socks.  I had five minutes.  Not under the bed, not in the dirty laundry pile, not in her brother’s room.  No red socks and I had to leave for work.  Ten minutes into my drive to work I realized I’d forgotten to write a note for her teacher about the change in afternoon pickup arrangements.  

“It’s ok,” I thought, “I’ll just call the school.”

Seconds later my cell phone rang.  It was the school.  My daughter went to the office to tell them I forgot to send a note.

I cried the rest of the way to work. And I was late. I walked into the office with a big grin on my face trying to hide my ruined makeup and wished my co-workers a good morning.

But my eyes didn’t lie.  Even with a fake smile, I’m sure they weren’t fooled. I can usually hold it together, but not lately.  I think I have “Acute Emotionalosis”, an abnormal condition pertaining to my emotions.  Crying one minute, annoyed the next.  I’m overly sensitive to songs about only having 100 years to live or kids growing up.  Trace Adkin’s song, “You’re Gonna Miss This” does it to me every time, and so does anything by James Blunt.  Even commercials cause tears.  Have you seen the Subaru commercial with the 7-year-old little girl at the wheel?

I don’t feel like I’m doing this whole life thing well.  Whether it’s my role as wife, mother, daughter, friend, or employee…..I doubt myself.  Sometimes, I know I’m not doing it well.

That was three years ago. I was going through a difficult time and getting used to a new normal, adjusting to working full time outside the home after mostly being home for ten years.  And in my spare time I was studying for the CPA exam.

I remember how I felt then. Besides tired and overwhelmed I felt inadequate. Less than. Like I was failing at everything, disappointing everyone and I was on the verge of tears most days.  

My family and I finally adjusted to the job. But as soon as I was used to that everything changed again. And again. And then again.  

And more change is coming.   

Change has changed me. For the better. I still have moments of doubt and stress. I mess up with my husband and kids. I say the wrong things, I’m not always there when they need me, and I’m impatient. I forget to write the check or the note. My house is still not as clean as I’d like it to be. I fail sometimes. But they’re only moments. 

When faced with a loss, a problem, crisis, challenge or any kind of change I try to remember it won’t always be this way.  I’m right in the middle of this whole life thing, doing it the best way I know how, and learning how to do it better. I will still feel the sting of failure, but I will take each day as it comes and remember the words to one of my favorite songs, “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World.  

“Hey, don’t write yourself off yet.  It’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on.  Just do your best, do everything you can.  And don’t you worry what the bitter hearts are gonna say.  It just takes some time, little girl you’re in the middle of the ride.  Everything, everything will be just fine, everything, everything will be alright, alright.

I wish I could tell you I was my daughter’s hero that day because I found those red game socks before her game that afternoon three years ago.  I can’t. We never found the socks. And just last night she asked me where her black athletic pants were.

“I don’t know, baby,” I said.

She asked, “Have you washed them?”

“No, not recently.” I said.

“MOM!” she said.

Oh well, I’m in the middle.

Disastrous