I sometimes get caught up in magical unicorn-type thinking.
If I am stubborn enough and tough enough and apply enough effort, I can change the course of history. I can steer the future if I just try harder. Dig in my heels, batten down the hatches, engage all manner of cliches…
But the truth is that there are things that are out of my sphere of influence, which isn’t as universal as I wish it was. And they are hard and no matter how tightly I hang on with the tips of my fingers, desperately trying to gain traction, I can not change them.
Not because of any failing on my part. Not because I didn’t try hard enough.
I know this is all sounding vague and you are wondering – WTF is she talking about? Is something hard happening now? Is she planning to give up on something? Is she falling off a cliff?
The answer is, of course, that hard things are happening all the damn time. To all of us.
And no, I am not giving up on anything. And I am standing on solid ground.
Hard things are happening to my kids. When I asked my daughter what she’ll do she said, “I’ll work harder.” And I thought, harder may not be the answer.
When I was trying to help my son work through some things what flashed through my head was “Maybe if I love him more and bigger and more obviously that will fix it.”
But I couldn’t love him more – already pinning the needle on that.
And I can’t love someone else’s challenges away. No one can.
There is no magical dose of me that actually fixes anything for anyone. I am not superglue.
Nor, sadly, Nutella.
I can make it less lonely. I can make it more fun. I can provide a shoulder to lean on and a listening ear. I can make a contribution to filling the void. I can even pitch in advice. Wise and profound advice that could possibly maybe lead to improvement in the situation. Maybe.
But I can’t actual steer anyone else’s ship or fix anything for them through sheer force of will. I can’t just love them harder. (Get your minds out of the gutter, people.)
I can’t love anyone enough so that they never feel lonely. I can’t encourage anyone enough so that they never stumble. I can’t hang on tightly enough to anyone so that they will never leave.
Free will is a bitch sometimes.
This doesn’t mean I won’t heap on the loving support in an obvious and probably overcompensating manner. It doesn’t mean I won’t TRY to provide the magical dose of me that fixes things. I’m a meddler. You enter my orbit, I’m gonna want to make things better for you.
I know it isn’t going to work most of the time. I know it.
But I know it in the way that I know binary code drives a computer but I still TOTALLY can’t get my head around how that could possibly be true. In the way that I know that pulleys reduce the amount of effort required to lift something, but I can’t make sense of it in my head.
(These are terrible examples of things that I factually know, yet can’t completely get on board with.)
I want trying harder and hanging on tighter to be the answer.
I want to bear hug my kids into happy success.
I want to kiss every bad memory away.
I want to be enough that everything else doesn’t matter.
I can’t be. No one can. But it doesn’t change the fact that I want to be magical.
Like a unicorn.