Ever After




Posted in: Lori

I’m not sure if you’ve heard the news, but I suffer from a debilitating, paralytic condition that has been particularly acute the last several months.

It’s not brought on by the cold weather, although we’ve had plenty of that.

It doesn’t seem to flare up when I eat too much ice cream.  In fact, I’ve been depriving myself of my favorite treat as I try to stop the spread of my lower hemisphere. (Doesn’t seem to be working too well, though).

I could blame it on childbirth, and I think that it may be related to some kind of postpartum fog that I still find myself in even two plus years later, but I get the sense that there’s more to it than that.

Honestly, I think that the big, bad WHATIF MONSTER is to blame.  He attacks my confidence; he burdens me with doubt; he torments my resolve.

As I sit and stare at a blank screen or a think of my many craft projects or gaze at my camera with my glorious 24/70 lens just waiting to be used, my heart starts to race as the WHATIF MONSTER approaches.

What if I write something and I dangle a preposition or split an infinitive?  Or what if I write something and someone reads it and it makes them feel bad?  Or what if I start to write something and I get interrupted and then I get really angry and then I feel bad and then I realize that I really am a bad mom?

What if I cut into the silky fabrics and I mess it up?  And what if I use my beautiful fabric on this project and then I decide later on that it would have been better to use it on another project and then it is too late and I can’t get anymore?  And what if I knit up this skein of wool yarn and the gauge is all wrong?  And what if I work on a craft project and the husband comes home and looks at the messy house and thinks (but never says) “wife, what have you done all day?”

And what if I took a picture and the exposure was wrong or the shutter speed too slow or the f-stop too high or the angle unflattering?

And the longer I think of the what if’s, the bigger the monster becomes.

I read a Shel Silverstein poem many years ago that I’m afraid may be read at my funeral.

“Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”
Those were the words of Mary Hume
At her seventh birthday party,
Looking ’round the ribboned room.
“This tablecloth is pink not white–
Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”

“Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”
Those were the words of grown-up Mary
Talking about her handsome beau,
The one she wasn’t gonna marry.
“Squeezes me a bit too tight–
Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”

“Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”
Those were the words of ol’ Miss Hume
Teaching in the seventh grade,
Grading papers in the gloom
Late at night up in her room.
“They never cross their t’s just right–
Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”

Ninety-eight the day she died
Complainin’ ’bout the spotless floor.
People shook their heads and sighed,
“Guess that she’ll like heaven more.”
Up went her soul on feathered wings,
Out the door, up out of sight.
Another voice from heaven came–
“Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”

And so here I am, one of the least productive people you will ever meet because I’m too afraid to try . . . A coward who worries that the outcome will be “almost perfect . . . but not quite.”

I envy people who bravely start on projects even when they can’t see the end from the beginning. I marvel at the boldness with which they work, shrugging their shoulders at setbacks and moving forward despite mistakes.

And so I resolve to slay WHATIF and replace him with a soft, cuddly, lovable SOWHAT.

It’s okay to read books on slipcovering furniture (I own at least three of them) and to pour over countless articles about it on the Internet and to attend a class (can’t wait for next Friday). But then it’s time to put the books down and get to work. And yes, my couch may end up looking like it’s wearing an ill-fitting “mu-mu” and not the tailored Pottery Barn style “suit” that I’m hoping for.  So what?  I won’t know until I try.

And even though my blog posts may be overrun with run-on’s and my pictures fuzzy and under-saturated, so what?  Someday I’ll be grateful that I captured the moments of my kids’ fast-fleeting childhood.

So what if I make more mistakes . . . TONS of them.

I want to be a “doer” and not just a “thinker.”


  • Comment by bRENDA — February 6, 2011 @ 10:34 am

    I like your thoughts Lori! I like you’re phrasing of the “Whatif Monster” I’ve referred to “whatif” as my toxic poison. . . I can’t even go there. . .

    I love a quote I once got on a dove chocolate. It said, “What would you try to do if you knew you could not fail?” Liberating isn’t it!?

  • Comment by Deanna — February 6, 2011 @ 10:36 pm

    Oh good 🙂 When are you going to come out and play with me 🙂 I’ve missed your blog posts and thought of you often… daily in fact…each time I start a new project (even though I haven’t finished the other 5 I have going – I think of you and how good you are at finishing stuff. I fiddle with my new camera and wish I had you here to show me how to take pictures that aren’t as bad 🙂 And I think of you when Eileen says “I wish we still lived in Texas” or Anna says “I miss Vivi” I think of you when the end of the week rolls around and I realize that I haven’t gone anywhere or done anything interesting.

  • Comment by Katie — February 6, 2011 @ 10:58 pm

    I am so relieved that I am not the only victim of the what if monster. Maybe 2 what ifs make a well done….let’s get together! You are AMAZING, lets get some projects done before shool is out! Call me! xoxo

  • Comment by Gillian Alcala — February 13, 2011 @ 10:21 pm

    I love your blog, Lori. Love it.

  • Comment by julie — February 21, 2011 @ 11:17 am

    So glad your updating the blog. The kids like to look at the pictures and ask….WHEN ARE THEY COMING AGAIN?????????Soon I hope. Miss you guys.

  • Comment by Heidi — February 24, 2011 @ 10:58 am

    Babe Ruth once said, “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” Joseph B Wirthlin said, “Come what may and love it.” Suzie Motes says, “Damn the torpedos, full steam ahead.” At least that is what mom says she says. I like my own phrase, “It is what it is.” As long as you do it and do your best it is what it is. It is a product of you. Not a thought, but a product. It most certainly won’t be perfect but isn’t perfection in the eyes of the beholder? To others you are simply the most amazing talented person they will ever know. I know that is how I feel about you. So what if a participle dangles. Do you love me less because I can’t spell well or that I can’t even find spell check on this Mac computer? Absolutely not! My inability to spell is endearing to you and even makes you smile sometimes and maybe groan a little too to think that you are related to me. I love you Lori for who you are and what you are becoming. Happiness is in the journey but you will never get there if you don’t take the first step. Some of those steps might land you in a mud puddle, but that will make it all the easier to see where you’ve been. As Dorrie said in Little Nemo, “Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming, swimming.”

  • Comment by cheryl bass — March 19, 2011 @ 12:52 am

    You hit the nail on the head, Lori. Now, if we could just REMEMBER and live this every day! So what?!

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.