I’m Not The Best Version of Myself

Dear Malin Reese,

You have the sweetest voice. I listened to you chat with yourself over the baby monitor yesterday afternoon and you had a lot to say after your midday nap. Most of it was incoherent babble but I translated your words into my own mind. Here’s what I think you said over that five minute span.

“I will remain chaste for the rest of my life.”

“I not only accept but I embrace that Daddy wears more cardigans than Mommy.”

“The wholesale acceptance of anti-intellectualism in certain parts of the United States is breeding a population of willing idiots.”

“The work of Mark Twain will be my literary compass in life.”

“I will remain chaste for the rest of my life.”

“I will remain chaste for the rest of my life.”

“I will remain chaste for the rest of my life.”

You’re a smart kid for a 16-month-old. The five minute prattle session turned into you calling out for Mama. Again, the tenor of your voice could not have been sweeter. It continues to be the simplest and best form of music in my life. When Mama didn’t come and get you, you switched over to calling out for ‘Sha. ‘Sha or Usha is, for lack of a better term, your Nanny. Most days, you spend the majority of your time in her care. You’ve been going to her since August of last year and you love her like a family member. In many ways, she plays as important of a role in your life as your Mom and I do. She’s been our safety net since moving back to Seattle. She allows us to focus on our work without having to worry about you for a second. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, we trust her with your life.

Usha has had a tough week. She came back from vacation and was met with a terrible family tragedy. I saw her briefly on Wednesday morning and she looked like she could barely keep from breaking. Even still, she greeted you with her customary smile and told you how beautiful you looked. I offered her a couple of poorly delivered platitudes about her loss and slipped off to work. I feel deeply about so many things, so why did I fail so miserably at communicating how sad I felt for her loss? The plain truth is that I suck at dealing with other people’s grief. This is a person who showers you with love day in and day out, who was handling her own grief with herculean grace and I offered her nothing. Not one of my finer moments to be sure. Luckily, your Mom redeemed us and brought her flowers when she picked you up. A small gesture, yes, but appropriate and delivered with feeling by your Mom.

So, what’s my disconnect? Why can’t I appropriately deal with other people’s grief? It’s really simple. I can’t deal with other people’s grief because I can’t deal with a scenario in my own life where I lose a family member. I’m not even emotionally mature enough to have a conversation with your Mom surrounding financial planning in case something happens to one of us. I get edgy and uncomfortable. I hide behind the fact that I love everyone so deeply that I can’t deal with the thought(which is true) but I just need to grow the hell up. My point here is please work on your shortcomings, especially when you’re aware of them. We’ll do our best to highlight the ones that you don’t see and work through them with you. Let my failure this week be a reminder that if you can work on your flaws, the people you love will (most of the time) get the best version of you. Usha didn’t get the best version of me this week and she certainly deserved better.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s