Spoiler alert! Here comes the trite part... I sat back and looked at those accomplishments, all decked out on paper and knew that they weren't the real successes of my life. Alexander and Megan were both the most important work of my life and the grandest successes, hands down. Of course, I can't look at these two socially responsible, kind, thoughtful human beings and claim the credit but I can acknowledge that they mattered more to me than anything else. Parents can't take credit (really) for genetic gifts or flaws. Parents are only one of many influences on children. And parents are best off when working tandem with another parent -which I joyfully did - and the combined effort of both parents, on the same page, is critical. No matter. What I know is that I gave them my all and hoped for the best. And they have not disappointed in any way.
Recently, I've thought of another measure of success that is off the beaten track. In this, the final third of my life, I am finally discovering creative endeavor. I have always been focused on work and family. I have certainly depended on creativity in both of these arenas but, lately, I see some of my writing, painting, and photography as success vignettes. Clearly we are not talking fame and fortune as a measure of success but rather personal satisfaction. Earlier in my life, success seemed to be about recognizable and culturally approved measures. Now, not so much. Now I am happy to be reflected in acrylic or keyboard and mine is the only approval I want.