Parenting Blog

This Is Not A Cry For Help

Maybe it was a mild panic attack.

That’s awfully scary to consider and to write down.

I can’t know for sure, though. I’m not a regular around these parts, and this is not a cry for help with whatever happened and is still happening to me as I write this for good measure, but something rattled me in the dark hours of Tuesday and that something produced a shambolic night of sleep.

What a pity too — a pleasant evening with windows open and the ceiling fan a blur over head, wasted.

Over the decades, I’ve suffered the odd crisis of confidence but, thankfully, have never failed to quickly get myself out of the muck and the mire, usually with the artifical aid of an exciting freelance project, a trip to somewhere fun, or a night spent over pots and pans preparing a spiffy meal for the family as music plays and we four move about in an elaborately choreographed dance. Lincoln Center in our living room and, often, our underwear.

Last night, somewhere between 11:13 pm and 2:38 am, I was struck by a harrowing thought that disrupted me for hours. The thought I couldn’t shake was that¬†I have done nothing, and I haven’t yet found the impetus to escape it, not even a delicious dinner of honey drizzled goat cheese, hummus, nachos, freshly sliced apples and havarti with soft pretzels — Bogle tapas, we call it — while First Aid Kit’s Stay Gold¬†kept us singing aloud, could set me straight.

My better half, on the other hand, has done much but has been unnecessarily burdened with self-esteem issues since before we were a thing. My earliest recollection of her self doubt dates back to an unfounded worry about being in over her head during an extensive 60 days of job training some 17 years ago, weeks before she’d ace her Series 6 an 63 exams to clinch the position. She’d tell you, still today, that in mixed company she’s unable to hold her own in conversation because her experiences and interests aren’t as interesting as the woman who’s been on a safari in Africa or the guy who’s biked across the country or the couple who homeschool their gaggle of spawn, but what she must be too close to realize is that just within just the past few years she’s graduated from university near the very top of her class while simultaneously working a full time job and being a wonderful mom, served as a board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters, been a Big Sister to an inner city high school senior, advocated for the rights of LGBT employees at her company, took up the challenge of being a Girl Scout troop leader when it looked like the troop might fold without new stewardship, and she’s supported me, the girls and the house through a hectic period of time that had me away from home far too often. Frankly, others should be intimidated to engage in conversation with her, not the other way around. In short, she’s done things, big things, difficult things, important things, helpful things. I’m trying to make her see all of this, while at the same time now trying to make sense of how I’m seeing myself.

I’ve gotten to do a shit ton of stuff, sure, but I’ve actually done next to nothing; nothing real, nothing substantive to help make the world, our community or myself any better, and I feel a brand new-to-me kind of invisible that I don’t know how to cope with.

If we don’t make a genuine impact, something more than writing a blog post or flying away to someplace or serving a plate of finger foods, were we ever here?

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