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When Plan B (or C or D or E) seems to be OK

Posted Oct 25 2010 4:52am

MEA weekend is over (Minnesota Educator's Association -- if you don't live here and don't know that) and everyone is heading back to school today. It will be nice to have them back there and to get back to work. I have plenty to do.

One of the things I've been trying to do is to just relax in the idea that sometimes Plan B isn't a bad idea. Or plan C, or D, or E. Sometimes whatever plan we're on has to be ok.

Yesterday John, Courtney and Isaac were here for a few hours. They were watching TV and I went up to hold the baby. And it was OK. It wouldn't be our first choice to have our 20 year old son be unemployed, possibly failing his senior year for the 3rd time, and a dad already, but right now he's doing a pretty good job being a boyfriend and a great job of being a dad. They are making things work for them, and the baby is beautiful. He is no longer diagnosed bipolar, he is stable, he is not aggressive or threatening, his anger issues are under control, and he's functioning very well. So things are good. It's not Plan A, but things are OK.

Mike is here. He isn't in jail. He can't follow our rules, when he even remembers them, but he isn't causing anyone else any problems. He doesn't seem to be using. He isn't stealing any big ticket items from his parents. He still frustrates us when he isn't doing what he is supposed to be, but he's not bothering his siblings (except for an occasional theft, which may or may not be him. He's not the only person here who can't remember what belongs to them and what doesn't). So while he has gone through Plan A, B, C, D, E ... this one seems to be ok for now. He's supposed to have a sentencing hearing in a week because of some stuff he did, so we'll see how that goes. But for now, it's OK.

Salinda and Gabby are here. Salinda is working on finishing her GED. She is not combative nor is she making anyone miserable. She sticks to herself most of the time, and I would be much less frustrated if she could find time in her fairly easy schedule to help out a bit more, but it's not worth an argument. She seems to be handling her situation fairly well. Gabby is doing well, and we enjoy having her here. It's not Plan A, but for now it's ok.

I could go down the list. For each of the kids life isn't a perfect plan A. For some it is better than for others, but for the most part, everyone is OK.

Or maybe the difference is me. Maybe the real reason that things, in my opinion, are now OK is because I have changed my definition of OK. It's OK that I have 3 kids getting Fs. It's OK that I open an envelope with a discipline slip in it at least weekly. It's OK that I have six kids over 16 who are unemployed (Rand does have an interview tomorrow though -- crossing fingers). It's OK that I have two kids who simply cannot hold it together and will fight and argue with the least provocation. It's OK that I get cussed out every morning, that I have three or four kids who absolutely cannot get their chores or dishes done. It's OK that some of my kids think this is the last place they want to be at any given moment.

Because really I can't change much of the above. I spent years trying. And so I was continually frustrated.

While I don't agree with this definitioni theologically, I understand what this commenter on another blog was saying
Acceptance with a smile to any situation in life without blaming anybody else is heaven and rejection of any situation by constantly whining about it and/or blaming anybody else but your own self is Hell.

With acceptance comes love, kindness, generosity, higher self-esteem, self-love and apathy for people around you. With rejection comes hatred, jealousy, envy and self-rejection.

Somewhere in the past year I have gotten towards the acceptance that this talks about. And I have finally understood the meaning of this quote that I have loved for years, realizing it's depth and truth, but not grasping it:

There are two things, the actual and the ideal.
To be mature is to see the ideal and live with the actual.
To fail is to accept the actual and reject the ideal,
and to accept only that which is ideal,
and refuse the actual is to be immature.

Do not criticize the actual because you have seen the ideal.
Do not reject the ideal because you see the actual.
Maturity is to live with the actual but hold on to the ideal.

And that, folks, is what I'm attempting to do...
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