One day last week I changed the school drop off routine a little.  Whit walked halfway across campus with us and then waited, sitting on the bottom step of a building in the middle, while I took Grace the rest of the way.  She whined a little about this change (Whit didn’t join us at all in the past), insisting that her brother would intrude on our “special time.”  She glared at me as we pushed our way through the double doors to the playground.  I wanted badly to snap at her that she was being a brat, but I bit my tongue.  Moments later, they were walking ahead of me, heads bent together, murmuring about something I couldn’t hear.

It was perfect.

Saturday morning broke clear and cold, cold, cold.  I watched Grace’s soccer game hunched over, with my hands jammed into the pockets of my down coat.  It was so cold my eyes teared behind my sunglasses.  I had a lovely conversation with another Soccer Mom (gah!) and was taken aback when, mid-chat, Grace came running over, face flooded with tears.  “Mummy!  I just scored and you missed it because you were talking to Sophia’s mom!”  She crossed her arms across her chest and stamped her foot, the very picture of righteous indignation.  I hugged her instead of blowing up, guilt and irritation swamping me at once.  With her face pressed against my coat she couldn’t see the emotions at war on my face. How can I possibly live up to this standard? rang in one ear and Oh my God I misssed seeing her score a goal shouted in the other.

“I won’t score again today and you missed it,” she wailed against my parka.

She did score again, and I saw it.  I also observed her cheering on a teammate who tore down the field and scored her own goal, which made me far prouder than anything else (and I told her that).  I kept remembering: it won’t be long until she doesn’t want me to watch her anymore.

It was perfect.

After soccer, I took Whit to make good on a promise from his birthday.  He received several duplicate Legos so I told him I’d take him to the Lego store and he could choose anything he wanted (within reason).  He was overwhelmed by the Lego store, and spent long minutes walking its perimeter, eyes wide, finger trailing across the various boxes.  He could not make up his mind.  I urged him to pick something already, fretting to myself that if we didn’t get to Johnny Rocket’s before noon we’d have to wait for a table.  I chewed a fingernail, impatience swelling inside me, and told him again that it was time to choose.  Let’s be honest: I rushed him.

He decided on a Lego, we went to lunch, there was no wait, and he was utterly charmed by the faux-retro-diner details.  Then, at J Crew he picked out a pirate sweatshirt and was given this enormous, Willy Wonka-esque lollipop.

It was perfect.

I need to trust that as surely as my frustrations and irritations, my guilt and paralyzing panic about missing it rise up, they will ebb away.   These emotions are clouds sliding across the sky of my life, that is all.  This is what I am realizing: it is up to me whether I let these feelings, these moments when I am not the mother I want to be, mar the perfection of this life.  And I won’t let them.  I can’t change, I don’t think, the spikes of agitation and restlessness that sometimes overtake me so fast my head spins.  But I can change how I let them impact my overall sense of my days, of my life.

Thank you, Katrina, for the exact words I needed at the precise time I needed them.  As usual.

This life, this moment: it’s all so perfect it breaks my heart.  Every day.

9 thoughts on “Perfect”

  1. And how perfect this post is, as a reminder to all of us to find the beauty in the everyday, but also to recognize that we are only human.

    I also need to find a deep trust that my emotions are only “clouds sliding across the sky of my life.” My goodness, Lindsey, that’s spectacular!

  2. See it, touch it, let it go – a mantra I still use from time to time….

    Really lovely, Lindsey. Both the practice and the fact that you can see the bigger picture.

    Love to you…

  3. 1. If I could collect all the time I spend feeling like I didn’t handle something with my kids “right”, feeling guilty for losing it, yelling or missing the point, what percentage of my days would it add up to? Distressing thought. I, too, am working diligently on letting go and seeing the bigger picture. Hard work. Beating up on oneself can be a full-time job if we let it.

    2. I don’t think your daughter will grow out of wanting you to watch her, maybe, ever. My mother came to every single one of my high school soccer games. She was a quiet, supportive presence. It meant everything to me. I still want my mother to “see me”. And I know from friends how painful it is for those of them who never had that or don’t have it now. A deep hole. So no, we can’t do it perfectly, but we are being there, in our own imperfect ways. And, as you would say, it’s perfect!

  4. Once again…I needed to hear this. I need the reminder to slow down, calm down. I also get so impatient and irritated, but they do not need to effect the entire experience.

  5. Ah, that realization that all sensations pass, even the really awful ones. I only figured that out about a year ago and decided it was the mark that I am at last (after 38 years) a grown-up. It’s something I forget often so thank you for the GORGEOUS reminder.

    You have the cutest little munchkins!!!


  6. yes, to trust that all is perfect (even when it isn’t) and be present in it…you and katrina are soothing balm for my soul. thank you.

Comments are closed.