serenity now

I ain’t gonna sugar coat it, friends.

This week has sucked.

Like really, really sucked.

Like a lot.

Those of you on Diary’s Facebook page may have gathered as much when my status on Tuesday night was,

After a really, really, really sh-tty day, seventeen replays of Elmo’s World Happy Holidays with my girl might turn out to be just what the doctor ordered.

Or perhaps you got the feeling that things weren’t going so well when you read this one last night:

I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche –> A note to those who work with my child: You don’t have to like me, even though I’d like to think I’m pretty likable. You don’t have to respect me, even though I’m pretty sure I’ve earned your respect. You don’t have to pretend to be my friend, though I’d really like to be yours. But please know this – if you lie to me, I will not trust you again.

When I start quoting Nietzsche – when anyone starts quoting Nietzsche – you know it ain’t good.

I think my close friends were pretty certain it was bad when I posted a paragraph to them last night that managed in seven sentences (run-on though they may have been) to use the F word as virtually every part of speech and then ended with ‘Oh, and just to really top it off right, I came out to find a twenty-five dollar parking ticket and a forty dollar expired plate ticket wedged into my windshield wiper.”


So I’m tired.

And I’m angry.

Yesterday, when I thought I might actually explode like one of those Road Runner era cartoon characters whose head starts to steam and then finally goes flying off his shoulders and into space, I decided to devote the day to being tired and angry. Just one day. Cause the whole cartoon head steaming and taking off like a rocket just isn’t an option in the world in which I live.

So yesterday, I embraced the suckage.

And then at 11:30 last night, I finally closed my computer and pulled the curtain on the day.

Now, I’m starting over.

I spent last night doing what I could do about the things about which something could be done. As for the rest of it, is simply is.

Since that last sentence sounded an awful lot like the Serenity Prayer, I decided to look it up.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Pretty well sums it up. But it turns out there’s more. Who knew?

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.


–Reinhold Niebuhr

“Taking as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.’

Hmm. Gonna have to chew on that.

And that surrendering part?


But this part about ‘reasonably happy’ – really??

I mean, listen, I’m all for under promising and over delivering, but aren’t we setting the bar just a little low with ‘reasonably happy in this life’?

Seriously, is that the best we can do?

Yesterday I might have said yes. But yesterday was devoted to being miserable. Today I’m gonna say no.

Today I’m going to train my lens on the good. And even in the midst of the disaster that was yesterday, there was good. There always is.

So here goes …

After auditioning more than two weeks ago, my Katie found out that she got a solo in the final fifth grade concert. She is beside herself with joy. When she told me the news she said, “Mama, I’m really proud of myself,” and I realized – that’s everything.

Brooke answered the phone last night. And talked. To me. And when I asked if she’d had a good day, she used her brand spanking new favorite colloquialism, “You bet!” And then she said what she always says when she’s done talking. “Well, I better get started!” And then she was gone.

And for the thirty seconds of that conversation, the jackassery of the day and the nightmare that has been the week melted into an inconsequential puddle.

My girl answered the phone.

And talked to me.

And nothing else mattered.

It is on that note that I choose to start this day.

Focused on the good.

And reciting my very own serenity prayer.

I did what I could do about the things about which something could be done.

As for the rest of it, is simply is.Β 

And reasonably happy is not enough.Β 

29 thoughts on “serenity now

  1. What your mom said. πŸ™‚ And …..The serenity prayer (that well known piece of it) has always been my mom’s mantra. And therein perhaps lies a fundamental difference between how she sees the world (love her as I do) and how I see it. Thank you for digging up the rest of it in your spare (?) time – I didn’t know the author either. Here’s to a day with more golden moments for our children and less parking tickets (and frustrations that make us utter the f* word)! {hugs}

  2. Only you could find the nuggets of beauty and progress and “yay!” in a week filled with frustration. Hoping today finds you space to breathe, but also gives you the space to shout “this blows!” and we’re here to give you the space to do it. Love you.

  3. your posts always bring me to tears as your life seems like my life…{{{hugs}}}} to you momma -cheers to happy days. I always tell myself “your days and happiness are what you make it”. It help sometimes when I am at work on a suckage day and everybody is grouchy and its my job to turn it around. Here’s to everybody having no suckage days!

  4. Here’s to knowing that today will be better. p.s. embrace the suckage? that one’s going to stick in the ol’ gray matter. πŸ™‚

  5. I’m sorry that you’ve had such a frustrating week, Jess. A friend of mine recently lost her baby girl, and she posted a quote to Facebook the other day that I think applies:

    “When the world gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show the world that you have a thousand reasons to smile”.

    Congratulations to Katie!! How exciting for her to be doing a solo. πŸ™‚

  6. Ok, glossing over the suckage since I can’t fix it; I will focus on the good.

    Congratulations to Katie!! And to you and Luau; raising a chid who is capable of not only feeling but proudly expressing their self-confidence and joy at their accomplishments is no mean feat. Props!

    I think my eyes started leaking a bit when I read that Brooke answered the phone and talked ot you. That’s HUGE. SO.HUGE. (Aw, dammit, I’m crying again; you know why.)

    Wishing you a day full of the ups and downs which are inherent in iving, but hoping the ups are DELERIOUSLY happy and the downs are only bumps. xo

  7. I didn’t know there was more to that prayer….and yeah we just had our principal outright lie to us. I trusted that person up until that point. Now, not so much. And truth be told, that hurts, really hurts. But….but….I came home, saw my son and he said, “Hi!” And the lying principal became nothing more than a blip on my radar.

  8. sorry to hear so much bad stuff is going on, really frustrating. hope you’re getting through it somehow, you’re in my thoughts…i may have giant crates of wine airlifted to you…if you hear a giant crashing sound in the front yard, don’t worry…just grab a glass and run outside as quick as you can…

  9. You can only deal with one issue at a time and you can only do what you can do. Remember, one step at a time. Head down and keep moving. There will be a golden sky at the end of that storm… The babies are the blessings and they are great ones, as are you.
    Love you,

  10. I am sorry for whatever happened that broke your trust. I pray this experience helps you become more vigilant but not paranoid, passionate but not crazy, wise but not despondent. The edge of the knife that we live on requires this impossible balance. Holding you up in my heart, friend.

  11. Suckage abounds this week, I’d say. I thought about writing to you to share and vent and voice all of the garbage that has muddled up my own world this week, but I reckon you have enough on your own plate. Gotta focus upon the positive. Gotta remember to remember to see that glass half-full. That’s how we do this. It’s the only way we can. Glad to see that you have your wonderful kick-off inspiring this day. I’m focusing upon the fact that for the first time in weeks my older son is excited about something…a multicultural festival in which he is able to share his culture with his school community. He actually smile this morning when I dropped him off. That…there’s nothing better than that. Oh jeez, and now I’m crying…tears of joy bathe me. Wash away the negativity, angst, and anger that has absorbed me over the course of the past week. Thank you, Jess. xoxo

  12. Well, I am sorry that it was a tough week, but I am glad that you shared it. You have no idea how much I needed your post today. The last week has been exceptionally “suckish” for me as well. Two of my children are on the spectrum, and the oldest one came apart about a week ago. I spent all of my free time putting her back together. But, like a heat-seeking missile from a Stealth Bomber, my middle child, my only NT child, uncharacteristically flew to pieces last night. I am physically shaky this morning. But, I must put on my “happy face” and go cheer my oldest at the Special Oympics. And then rush to the youngest child’s side, to be with her, just in case she wipes out in her little program at school today. I couldn’t even sleep last night. I am so tired. So, after reading your post, I feel a little less alone, a little more able to focus on the positive, and little more likely to treasure the few minutes alone I have to take a shower. I need to get that t-shirt that says, “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

    • Wow Lisa – that sounds like quite a load. I’m fairly sure you could find that shirt online… or just print yourself a poster. Good luck out there!

  13. Thanks for sharing your sucky day with us. I’ve been in the suckage trenches since last Friday and trying very hard to find the “sunshine and kittens” to grab on to and find lots of little moments to praise my son. It just would help a lot of the folks that work with him would listen to him and to us. So very frustrating. I think I’ll write about it on my blog and lift the weight off my shoulders and then find some good in my day. Like taking my 2 year old baby girl to her music social group and sing and dance our hearts out. *hugs*

  14. Congrats to Katie! I hope we get to see a video of her singing!1 And that is a huge quantum leap for Brooke! WOW!
    We all have those days. And yes, we should hope for more than just reasonably happy. You’re never alone! xo

  15. I like your version, you should make a fridge magnet of it πŸ™‚

    Sending happy thoughts your way for a great weekend

  16. I’m glad it ended well and you’re sunny side is back up. But it’s also okay to pull the curtain on the day sometimes.

  17. Hoping today was new leaf turning over… and to move you away from Dr. N, here’s some Byrds.

    To everything – turn, turn, turn
    There is a season – turn, turn, turn
    And a time for every purpose under heaven

    A time to build up, a time to break down
    A time to dance, a time to mourn
    A time to cast away stones
    A time to gather stones together

    May today have been about gathering new stones…

  18. Your candor is a gift. I’ll be sharing a “virtual” glass of wine with you tonight (and hope you can find time to relax with a real one too!).

    p.s. to whomever inspired the post about lying – I see a really bad hair day -or several – in their future. They obviously have NO idea who you are!

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