“That’s not fair!”
I remember making this announcement repeatedly growing up. I still want to stamp my foot and cross my arms at the injustice I felt as a child. As a matter of fact, my sister and I said this so many times my stepfather took a piece of paper and wrote the word FAIR on it, then suspended it from the ceiling. He told us that the only place life would ever be fair was under that dangling piece of paper.
Still, as a twin I fully expected everything to be exactly half, split down the middle, completely even and above all FAIR.
This idea of fairness has come up time and again in my life. My daughters feel much the same way I did, although I haven’t yet hung up a sign. In talking to a friend about my parenting schedule this morning she echoed what everyone tells me when I talk about that situation – “that’s not fair!” And yes, sometimes it truly does feel unfair.
My ex would agree that our arrangement with the kids isn’t fair, although he would say he gets the short end of the stick. He still pays the same amount for child support as he did before child care costs that I pay went down. During the school year he typically only gets to see them on school nights and so is always dealing with the routines of homework and school instead of being able to do fun things with them.
On the other hand, I have them almost every weekend (the weekends I don’t have them in a year could be counted on one hand). He sets the schedule every month to work around his schedule and I can rarely plan more than 30 days in advance.
I can choose to focus on whether life is fair. I can struggle against what I feel is unjust, or I can accept that sometimes I’m ahead, and sometimes I’m behind. This is a lesson I learned in highschool that stuck with me (although I do need reminding from time to time). When I first heard Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen by Baz Luhrmann I started to understand. Sometimes I will get the bigger piece of cake, sometimes my sister will…but in the end things usually end up being fair. As Luhrmann says, “The race is long. And in the end it’s only with yourself.” This last piece I didn’t fully understand until I was much older.
If you’re not familiar with this, below you will find links to the Amazon download and a YouTube video. It’s full of insight…things that are obvious but not often considered. I still listen to it from time to time when life is feeling unfair. And now that I’ve listened to it, I feel I’m just a little further ahead in the race.