20 years ago, I stayed in a 2nd story room of a house in Seaside called Tuttapposto. The house was named from the Italian phrase “tutta a posto,” which means everything in its place. Settled. All good. Everything as it should be. With polished honey colored boards under my bare feet and my friend and her baby daughter across the hall, I had to agree.
In that moment,
in that place,
with those people,
everything was as it should be.
I’ve come to feel differently about it over it the years. I find myself looking for the “tutta a posto” in everything. Reaching for it as a destination. I feel almost homesick for it. I have translated “everything as it should be” and “all good” to “everything is perfect.”
I’m chasing perfect.
I will never catch it.
Because it doesn’t exist.
I spend my days lately navigating unfamiliar situations and preparing for what I’m guessing will be new normals. I fret over cap and gown order forms and college applications. I say things out of fear that I shouldn’t say. And then I hope that I’ve taught my kids enough about humility and forgiveness for them to offer it to me.
Last week I Instagram stalked a person whose name I’ve been hearing around my house a good bit. I don’t regret the stalking. The account was public, after all. What I regret was announcing I had done it. Good grief, Missy. Have you learned nothing in 18 years of parenting?. My stalking and my follow-up remarks caused 42 shades of angst in my house and caused one particular teen to not speak to me for a couple of hours. This was a long 2 hours, because we had errands to run together the night before Valentine’s Day. I apologized in person, because I had blurred and crossed the lines between concern and respect and had landed on the wrong side. And then I apologized through text, as we stood in two different check out lines of two different stores.
In the end, all was forgiven. But I haven’t forgotten the lessons I took home from Dollar Tree last Thursday night. Everything that happened had unraveled from my skewed perception of “tutta a posto.” Everything needs to be my version of perfect. Everything as it should be, according to me.
The very friend I was with in the Tuttapposto house 20 years ago is right now enduring some hard stuff at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. That isn’t where she lives. She has flown there to hopefully get some help. I have in my mind how this all should go. I had in my mind a “best case scenario” which has already fallen between the car seats with the 3 quarters I dropped yesterday. And I have in my mind 12 other case scenarios, most of which I am quarantining to my mind with my Instagram stalking and the stupid things I say when I’m tired and weak. Because nobody needs my case scenarios, good or bad.
What I don’t know is what will be.
And that’s my problem with everything. It’s my problem with my girls trying to make their way through middle school in a world of pseudo-stars with silly YouTube accounts. It’s my problem with girls I’ve never met expressing a little too much interest in my boys. It’s my problem with the tests they take that I can’t take with them or for them or even get them to follow the control-freaked study guide I’ve laid out. It’s my problem with teens driving late nights and dark roads because it was their night to close the store. It’s my problem with the frightening unknowns of health scans and test results.
What’s going to happen? How does it end?
I don’t know.
I don’t know what will be.
I can’t script the ending.
My husband has an annoyingly optimistic phrase that is not as poetic as
“tutta a posto” but that I find to be far more useful. He is known
for encouraging us to “make it good.” As I sit at the kitchen island agonizing over pro/con lists and what ifs, he casually strolls past and says, “Maybe there isn’t a right or wrong decision. Just decide. And then make
Whatever happens, make it good. Even if it is isn’t.
I’m redefining what I thought I knew about what it means to be all good.
I’m reteaching myself to pray. Because though I don’t know what will happen, I pray to the One who does. Who is. And Who can.
And I’m trying, between my gulping breaths into the brown paper bag of
Did-I-do-enough and Will-it-be-okay, to say the words that give me strength to take the next leap of faith—one pulled hamstring at a time:
Make it good.