I just posted a selfie of my kids and me on Facebook with the caption, “Jacob's first home game was a win! I told him I expect this exact selfie after every game. I'm so proud of both of these guys!”
Everything in that post was true. He did win that game. I did tell him I expected that selfie at every game since we did it last game, too. I am incredibly proud of my kids for a million different reasons. I genuinely feel honored to be their mom most days. But not every day. Not every day do I feel like I am a good enough mom for them. Not every day do I tell them I’m proud of them. Not every day do I keep my cool with them. Not every day are they easy to get along with. Hell, not every day are they easy to like, and neither am I.
But here’s the thing. I don’t talk about those other times to many people. I don’t take pictures to memorialize those moments. They are the moments I don’t want to celebrate because they aren’t as “pretty.” But those days are the days I end up learning the most from. They are the lessons that suck in the moment but are helpful later on.
And also… sometimes they suck! And it’s also totally okay that they suck, and I didn’t learn anything. Not every moment needs to be a learning moment, a happy moment, or a picture-perfect moment. Most moments just are. In those moments, we have the choice to find joy or possibility, or we can choose to focus on everything we perceive to be bad or wrong.
I am not going to tell you to always look for the joy. Sure, look for joy whenever and wherever you want to, but that doesn’t need to be always. Sometimes, it feels good to feel not so good. We may want to get some emotions out, maybe we need to blame someone or something, or we are having a down day, and joy is just not possible. Not to mention, we are human beings who have feelings that can be hurt, want to care for people, and want to impress people. When it feels like that hasn’t happened, it can suck, and to say “find the joy” ignores the hurt and implies that you need to get over it.
It isn’t easy to get over some things, and feeling crappy about it for a while is reasonable. Honor that, maybe even tell someone else so they won’t feel so alone when they have one of those “this just sucks” days. And you know what else? The joy and the suck can be happening at the same time. We are complex, and that is really awesome!