Friday, April 16, 2010

Practically Imperfect in Every Way

It takes me 15 different false-starts to get out to the car.  Breakfast to eat in the car, jackets, lunches.  I break Mason jars filled with coffee in my driveway.  My neighbor laughs at me as I say "No really, I'm leaving" (for the 15th time)...and then laughs harder when I do one more run back into the house.

In one of the runs back inside, I grabbed the email printout that was sent to parents for the Odyssey class this morning. And realized for the first time that not only was Jack supposed to learn lines for his class, he was supposed to make a flashy sign that says "1-800-trashcan."  And my heart broke as I reviewed the email because (a) he would be so disappointed to not have it, and (b) we'd have had a helluva time making a flashy sign.  Buying glitter, bright yellow poster board.  The works.

I had a momentary thought to have him skip class - just run away! - and then realized that wasn't teaching very mature coping mechanisms. :)  So I came back out to the car where my little guy was already strapped in and ready to go, and said: "I made a big mistake, and I'm not sure how to fix it.  They wanted you to make a big sign for your infomercial.  What should we do?"

"That's okay.  Can I just have some markers and things?  I'll make it on the way there."  So I got him some supplies.

I had to go back in and get more food for Simone, more salt for Andrew's food, and came back out and he'd written his sign.  It had red dots around the edge and purple writing...and the writing was perfect except for the backwards "h." 

Motherhood is humbling to say the least, because I am a failure at it so many times throughout the day.  Big failures, little failures.  Lots and lots of medium sized ones.  I'm messy and flighty and forget things.  I mean well.  And I try.  But even in the trying, things go wrong.  But then these moments happen, and I realize that really important lessons are being learned - ones that are so much more important than perfection.  Honesty, forgiveness, making last minute fix-its, flexibility, and coping in ways better than just running away from a situation.

I often wonder how it works to be a perfect mom.  It's quite clear I'll never know firsthand.  But when I see my children flourishing in the imperfect moments, it gives me hope that this is actually a fairly decent path to be traveling. 

And, it turns out this week was just a practice we get to make the glitter-glue, bright yellow version for next week.  Even better.  Getting to fix mistakes makes me appreciate the outcome even more.

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