Monday, August 12, 2013

LESSONS FROM MY GRANDDAUGHTER




"Everyone is leaving me what are we going to do tonight?!" 

Her voice reached through my phone and managed to twist my heart into a knot. That ache. Part pain and an abundance of love only a grandparent is privy to. You want to make her feel better, comfort her, make her happy. 

I was on Grandma duty last weekend and Rylee interrupted my morose mood which is the norm on Fridays at the cube farm. Casual Fridays taunt me in their oxymoronic existence because my Fridays are hardly casual. It's the busiest day of the week and I couldn't wait to get home in time to take Rylee to Barnes and Noble before they closed. It was Book Lovers' Day after all and she was stuck with me all weekend. 

Books made her forget that her mommy was gone for the weekend but Ray and I promised her the OC Fair on Saturday morning. She was beyond ecstatic. With the $3.00 admission between 10-11 a.m. we scored big in bringing happiness to my grandchild. 

What I didn't expect was to learn a few life lessons from Rylee while I mentally checked off how quickly our $20 budget dwindled to nothing. While we cooled off in the shaded building of the Fun Zone Rylee was drawn to the excitement happening onstage. 

The Fun Zone was like daycare at the fair where parents could either supervise their children or rest their aching feet while kids explored the different activities set up in the building. On stage a contest was in full swing and that's where Rylee wanted to be. Three young contestants had 30 seconds to fill their paper plate with plastic objects using metal tongs. 

"Gramma! I want to do that!"

Inwardly I cringed. My overprotective granny meter was on overdrive and I wanted to shield her from hurt, disappointment, and failure. Distracting her with the maze behind the stage was futile. 

Determination sparked out of her eyes and knew I was done for when she looked up at me. Powerless to say no I gave her permission to enter the contest. 

As she stood in line I observed the expressions on Rylee's face as the cogs in her brain worked out a strategy to win. Missing from her face were fear, doubt, and apprehension. In that brief moment I envied her fearlessness, asking myself how I lost it in my old age. 

Rylee won 2nd place in the contest but you couldn't tell she didn't take 1st. There was no sadness or disappointment tainting her beloved face and she held up the little rubber ducky prize in a victorious salute. 

"I've always wanted a rubber ducky!" she squealed.

Coming in 2nd place didn't trash her confidence like it would've done to the adult me. It was inconsequential considering the prize she received in the form of the little rubber ducky her heart desired. 

Ray and Rylee walked away to see the next attraction oblivious to my contemplative silence behind them. There, at the OC flippin' Fair, I was reminded of the cowardice, fear, and self-doubt that still plagues me. 

Tonight I'm hovering on the borders of panic land. It's the middle of August and I have nothing in my arsenal of article ideas. There's a vast world of social injustice yet I've got nothing to write about. Zero. 

Cowardice whispers in my ear. "You've been fooling yourself. You're not a writer. Quit while you're ahead. It's too hard." 

Self-doubt nudges me. "Yo! You're not good enough. The last article was your best and that's it. You're done! You can't do better than that." 

Fear taunts me. "You will fail this month and won't submit any articles. You're a fraud!" 

So I sit still, take a deep cleansing breath, and tell my triple threat to shut the F up! There are remnants of an inner child inside of me that isn't enslaved by doubt and fear who faces a challenge with a steadfast determination. She's no stranger to me because I recognized her in my own granddaughter's face at the OC Fair. 

What is it about adulthood that robs us of our mojo? When do we allow the opinion of others to stop us from dreaming the impossible or having the confidence that we excel in our gifts? Why do we hide our childlike bravado behind a false mask of bad ass? 

I'm tired of cowering in terror to move forward with faith in my gifts and talents. I need to give myself permission to fail and learn from it so I can do better. I have to remind myself that there will be off days and right-on days. 

When I submit the three articles I need to write this month I'll hold my fist up high in triumph knowing I got the rubber ducky I've always wanted!