Giving Thanks Because I Suck

This year I’m most thankful for my Colossal Failure.

Yes, of course I’m grateful for healthy kids, friends, yadda yadda yadda. But just today I learned that the project I’ve been working on for the past 11 months and dreaming about since the third grade is just another unanswered email.

Of course I had that initial disappointment, that sense of loss for the Colossal Failure, that big break that would’ve catapulted my professional and personal dreams forward at warp speed. But that was not the gift I received this Thanksgiving week.

This year’s greatest gift is rejection. Not even rejection, really, but a complete lack of acknowledgement that my dream even matters or that my talent exists.

No, I’m not being sarcastic for once. The upside of all this is my challenge to find the upside in all of this. It’s easy to get to a place of gratitude and joy when things are going the way I want them to. But when I can suck it up over the fact that I suck, when I can flex my gratitude muscle after an emotional sucker-punch, then I know I’m really, finally starting to get it.

Every day I preach to my kids that happiness is a choice, that we’re the luckiest people we know, that if they don’t like the way they feel, they can change their minds so they feel good again. All day I’ve been running those tapes through my head and holding myself back from my self-help book shelf and leftover Halloween candy.

I haven’t even told anyone about the Colossal Failure. The simple fact that I’m not indulging my ego in a pity-party is huge. I have a phone full of fabulous girlfriends (yes, thankful for them, too) who’d do their best to raise my spirits with encouraging words and love. I appreciate the fact that I can fall back on that. 

But instead I’m turning inward. I’m looking to myself to make it all better, because when it comes down to it, I’m the only one who can. 

So I’m profoundly grateful for this shattered dream. It’s a chance to really think about who I want to be when I grow up, what matters most to me and model all that for my kids.

What a gift. Thank you.

Smile, Goddammit!

This is my family photo. I’m the one who looks pissed.

Misery loves company. Way to set the tone, Dad.

I somehow stumbled across the Weekly Writing Challenge  from WordPress. I don’t know if I was surfing tweets, sifting through LinkedIn people I should know or deleting Farmville 2 invitations on Facebook, but I’m glad I found it.

I have no idea who these people actually are, but their sour faces are certainly familiar. The assignment for the challenge is to write a story about this picture — any story. The tale at the top of my mind is last night’s chat with The Roo about how we need to get along better.

Not that we’re cat-dog fighting, but I often feel frustrated with her at a faster pace and with less provocation than I do with her younger brother. I’m sure my therapist has a file full of good stuff to fill in the blanks on why, but I think it boils down to the fact that she is my blonde, 7-year-old clone. So we naturally butt heads.

I hate that. I want us to enjoy each other for the hilarious chicks we really are. But all too often, tempers and nostrils flare simultaneously. It’s like an estrogen smack-down around here over trivial things — far too often, I can’t even recall the trigger.

Earlier this week in a rare flash of genius, I came up with a new rule: If you can make me laugh, you’re not in trouble.

Anger is infectious. But so is laughter. If one of us manages to turn the mood around, we all feel better. And it’s my job to look for reasons to feel good about my kids so they feel good about themselves.

A few years ago, the elementary school my siblings and I attended asked my mom for  school photos of my brother, sister and me to feature in an ad. She couldn’t find a single one in which any of us were smiling.

At least we don’t have that problem.

Here’s our real family photo. This is what happens when you ask Wee Man to smile for the camera.

Hopefully the new rule will keep us camera-ready and out of trouble.

All Eyes on the iPad

I am way too plugged in. I know that. We have Apple TV,  iPods, an iPad and multiple Macs. I sleep with my iPhone next to my bed, kinda like I did with my diary when I was a kid. I’ve been known to take and make calls while undergoing unpleasant ER procedures.

That was way back when I was crazy.  Now I just use it to Google the doctor’s name to make sure nothing creepy comes up on a cursory search.

So it’s not like I can cast cyber stones at my kids for being iPeople. But this morning we plugged an additional set of eyes into the matrix.Image

Yes, even the cat is now hooked. He saw the kids slack-jawed and clustered around the small screen like they were being programmed a la “A Clockwork Orange,” and he joined in. He even started batting at the screen and paused the cartoon. Then he smacked it and got it going again.

I’ve been clicker training Loco for such impressive feats as “up,” “down” and “sit.” Now my ambitions are reaching Apple-sized proportions. I think the next command he learns will be “Download-me-a-new-workout-playlist-lots-of-P!nk-and-Katy-Perry-maybe-a-little-Taylor-Swift-but-make-sure-it’s-upbeat-none-of-that-sappy-crap.”

Wish me luck. I see an iPad commercial in our future.