Want A Lasting Legacy?
Start By Building A Brick Wall
There are a few things you could determine about me if you were to track my social media footprint. First is that I have diverse interests. Very diverse. And second, I don’t sleep a lot. I’m up all hours of the night, writing, thinking, talking to whomever might be there. Of course most of the time that is Buff.
So when my brain turned on at 4:37 am, I started thinking. And thinking. And thinking. I can only deduce that all those synapses firing at once awakened my husband who rolled over and asked, “What are you doing?”
I am, for the most part, a positive person but even I have the occasional bouts of, “WHAT THE HELL?!” So I started telling him about the things on my mind and just as I was about to veer off into that dark place, he told me about the summer of 1963.
Buff grew up in a working class neighborhood in Pasadena, California. The pristine houses sat back from the curb a bit, surrounded by manicured lawns that husbands faithfully tended to on Saturday mornings before it got too hot. One summer, an elderly neighbor asked Buff if he wanted to make some extra money building a brick wall. It wasn’t a HUGE wall, maybe three feet high and 10 feet long. Buff, thinking the task would be easy, jumped at the chance, even though he knew nothing about it.
After the sixth brick, he was beat! Bricklaying, as it turns out, is not for the faint of heart. There are all sorts of calculations and adjustments that must be made and if you want a wall that won’t blow over in the first storm, you can’t take shortcuts.
The task that he thought would be done in an afternoon actually took a week, which, in the sweltering Pasadena sun, probably felt like a year. But when it was done, Buff stood back and observed his handiwork. It was level. It was strong. And he was proud of what he had accomplished.
My husband’s ability to pull me out of a spiraling funk with a story about a brick wall is just one more reason I love that man. I laid the first layer of the Good Enough Mother brick wall in 2005 when I came up with the concept. Selling it to a publisher and writing the book was another layer. Cobbling together money to buy a family of trademarks in order to protect my brand? Another brick. Sure there have been setbacks; losing my job, breasts and hair among those. And there have been people who have come and gone. But at the end of the day, no one believed in this or in me as much as I did, though Buff is a close second.
It’s a bit like reality TV. See, there’s reality TV and then there’s real reality. You can be flash in the pan (Kate Gosselin anyone?) or you can lay down roots and still be standing after the first strong wind or change in ratings, as the case may be.
That’s my aim. To build a brick wall that will withstand the test of time, one that is strong enough for others to lean on when they need to. Walls like that are not erected overnight; they are built with painstaking precision, allowing time for the mortar to dry and the earth to settle in around them. But decades later, no amount of wind, rain, graffiti, kids jumping on and off it will make it budge. Yep. That is me. That is Good Enough Mother. That is what I’m building. To those who’ve been here all along, thanks for toiling in the sun with me. It’s turning into a beautiful brick wall.
What about you? What do you do when the going gets rough? How do you stay positive in the face of fatigue? Do you have a clear vision of what it is you’re building?