A Master of Should


I am a master at using the word “should.” Here’s what I thought when I went back and looked at this Daddy/daughters picture:

  • It should be in focus.
  • Everyone should be sitting next to each other with gloriously happy smiles.
  • I should be able to see the girls’ matching shirts which say “Daddy’s little sweetie.”
  • I should be able to see more of Dan’s face than just 1.5 eyes.
  • Emmy should not be crying.

In other words, this picture is a failure, right?

On the contrary. I think it’s one of my favorites.

When I look closer, I see the following:

  • Charlotte’s personality is perfectly captured (easy-going nature, eagerness to please, her headband which is always askew because she likes it that way).
  • Emmy’s personality is perfectly captured (generally happy but can be very quick to get upset, especially when pulled away from Mommy).
  • Dan’s personality is perfectly captured (smiling eyes, comfortable being surrounded by his girls). I looked closer and noticed his wedding band peeking out behind his oldest daughter. His original wedding band was lost to the ocean on our honeymoon. This one was much cheaper but still holds the same value, in my eyes.

Maybe when things are not as they “should” be, that means they are just right.

We took Emmy to the doctor today. It’s the same hospital where I gave birth to Emmy and, every time I go back there, I’m flooded with the emotions of that time. We didn’t know Emmy had Williams syndrome, but she was in the NICU for 8 days, and the entire experience was emotionally painful. The hospital staff was wonderful and they did their best to console me, but it was very sad to be separated from Emmy right at birth and then not be able to take her home for an entire week.

I found myself thinking: “It should have been different. Emmy should not have been blue when she was born. Emmy should not have had heart problems. I should have had the happy hospital stay that most new moms have…” The laundry list of shoulds continued.

Then I stopped myself. What can defeat a case of the shoulds? Acceptance.

I accept that I had an emotionally rough stay in the hospital. I accept that Emmy was in the NICU. I accept that she was not 100% healthy. I accept that things did not turn out exactly as I expected.

I accept it, and I am grateful for all that I have.

4 thoughts on “A Master of Should

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