Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Let go of the word "Failure"

I'd like to get off of this runaway train and have a nice cup of coffee at the next stop please!
A cup of soothing TEA would work as well

Sure cure for the blues...plan a trip to ITALY

Several years ago I was in the middle of a particularly difficult time in my life. There were pressing issues about my teaching full time. I felt wedged between my obligations as a mother, as a daughter of ageing parents and as a full time teacher of special needs children. I seemed to have no time for my family and friends, the people that really counted in my life. I was focused perhaps too much on my work as a teacher and my obligations as a University student as well. I was trying to do too much. Everything ended abruptly when I decided to get off the runaway train I was on. The big leap was the decision to leave my full time job. At the time I was torn and felt as though I had failed. I felt terribly sad inside. My, then, nineteen year old daughter wrote me this letter which brings tears to my eyes even now when I read her words:

"My dear Mamma Louie--I just wanted to let you know that I have been thinking of you and wish I could say or do something to help you through this time. I am so proud of you for everything you've done and are trying to do; I think it's time that we all let go of the word "failure" and try to see every choice as presenting us with equitably fortunate possibilities. No matter what we do or what happens to us in life, let's call that meaningful and go from there. Instead of worrying about the decisions we need to make, let's drink tea, play solitaire, drive by the ocean, play Julio Iglesias, plan a vacation to Italy, meet friends for coffee, go out to dinner and rent foreign films.
No matter what you decide or what life decides for you, I will be so proud to have you as my mother. Every day I think about how lucky I was to get you for my mamma Louie. I credit you with all that I am and the way I see the world. When I am proud of myself, I am proud of you. "Your heart is free, have the courage to follow it."
I love you mom. Aria"

In the end, quitting my full time job turned out to be a huge blessing. I needed to remember this:
"Sometimes in the winds of change, we find our true direction."


Anonymous said...

Isn't it interesting how others can sometimes see our successes when we only see our failures? This also brought tears to my eyes. It is so inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Barb, I know that you were never a failure...in fact it was the furthest from the truth.. your successes were seen everyday in the way you taught your class, the way you were so dedicated to learning what you needed to teach, the kindness you showed the staff,the way you prepared for the next
day... my friend you were a star in our eyes. Unfortunately, you don't know balance.. how to maintain and do everything within limits..you are a perfectionist and one who expects so much from herself. You are too hard on yourself, we all see you with such high honor.. You did the right thing for you and your family, we know how hard it was..and we all missed you when you did! I'm so happy you have found a peaceful and meaningful
time. It is so important!! I hope I do too! Love, your friend and colleague, Lynda

Marcia said...


I so understand the crossroads of life, stresses of the workplace, being part of the sandwich generation. Your daughter's letter is touching; isn't it grand that our girls are grownup and can be our support when we need them, our friends when we need them and yet still be our babies?

barb cabot said...

Marcia "AMEN!"

girasoli said...

This brought tears to my eyes. I know how difficult it is to balance work with the rest of ones life. I feel like we have a kinship as a fellow special education teacher. It sounds like you are a wonderful mother and made the right decision. I can see in your daughters' eyes in her photos just how loved you are.

nancy said...

barbara, you have always been an inspiration to me and someone whom i would love to be more like. when you have faced challenges, you have always walked away stronger.
your family is a beautiful reflection of you and mike.. how very blessed you are.
nancy h

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