I am not sure when it started. I know no one ever said it. No one even implied it. Yet somehow, while I was growing up I started to feel like I wasn't measuring up.
Mom would make a comment about getting my hair out of my face but I heard that I wasn't pretty enough.
Dad would make a comment on my outfit and I wasn't stylish enough for my photographer father.
Grades, not smart enough.
Swim team, not fast enough.
Dance, not graceful enough.
Before I knew it, I lacked follow through, I wasn't a good enough driver, pretty enough, smart enough, funny enough, have a good enough voice... the list went on and on.
Having a dead brother didn't help.
It made things worse.
In addition to not feeling like I measured up, I was failing twice over. I was not just letting myself down, I was letting Adam's memory down.
Somewhere along the line I convinced myself (please note, I DID THIS TO MYSELF) that I had to do more, be better, or just attempt to somehow live for both of us. This world was going to miss out on all the possible goodness and all the imagined gifts Adam would have blessed it with. So, in my mind anyway, it now became my responsibility to not just live for me, but excel for him.
Talk about pressure.
I am not sure how it started or how I came to believe it so surely, but believe it I did. Every time I felt I fell short of the imaginary "ENOUGHS" I was failing the both of us. I remember a few times where I wondered if the wrong child had died.
I know! Horrible thought.
But I still thought it.
To myself. It would have gutted my Mom to know what I was thinking. I can't believe I am actually admitting it but I am and it feels kinda good. I used to think that if Adam had lived he would have been better, made less mistakes or somehow had this blessed life that I just couldn't live up to. I could never live up to what I imagined the greatness of his life would have been and it was easy to imagine his life would have been great. I mean, if you're wishing a kid back from the dead, you're hardly likely to imagine them ordinary...
I also can't pinpoint when I stopped worrying about the "ENOUGHS". I guess they were a bit like a plant you don't water... they just sort of faded over time until they were just dead twigs reminding me of what had once been there. I came to recognize that if I really believe that God has a Master plan, imagining the wrong child died was like telling God he made a mistake and I don't believe that.
I do still try to honor Adam (by donating to charity in his memory) but I no longer try to live my life to make up for the loss of his. I'd like to believe his spirit would be proud of my growth. I came to trust that my Amazing God made me just as I am and that by virtue of that fact alone, I am exactly enough. I have been blessed with all the exactly right attributes to make me who I am. I have lived through all these experiences, including the loss of my brother & the warped perceptions that grew out of that loss, to shape me into whom I'm to be.