Perfection and Other Burdens
Part of this post originally appeared on our old blog Born to be a Bride.
And what of today? Last week I made a very tiny error tied to a project for a client. It was easily explained and rectified, and no one cared. No one, that is, except for me. As Josh and I drove to Target for a few final stocking stuffers, I couldn’t control my tears. He explained to me that everyone messes up at work sometimes, that the boss wasn’t mad, that it was okay. “But – but -” I managed to get out, “I just want to be perfect.”
If I apply three hours of dramatics to a minor social media flub-up for a client who couldn’t care less, imagine the script that plays in my head all day, err day, about my precious Willow. I need to eat the right foods to promote my breast milk production but too much of those foods leads to gas for her, so every bite I eat is overanalyzed as it was when I was pregnant. Then there’s the temperature of her room, the not-always-organic clothes on her back, the air quality in our apartment, ensuring she has enough tummy time and Daddy time and quiet time for proper development and of course, joy. Are her ears okay and her eyes and her skin and feet? OK. She looks good. Now what of me? I want to be showered and manicured and pedicured and pleasant. I want to smile and breeze around the kitchen with a baby in one arm and a jar of homemade salad dressing in the other, throwing a finishing touch on dinner while my mini-me coos in my arms.
The truth is there has not been a single “perfect” day since Willow’s arrival. Instead, every day has been a mix of perfect and not. Today for example, the blessed child let me sleep till 10 am and even get in a shower. But when she woke it was with the fury of an emperor at war and a full hour of nursing plus cuddles, changes, rocking, and pacifier were not enough to chill her out. So as I write this piece I am standing up in my kitchen with her in the Stokke carrier, praying for a few more precious moments of calm. And yet in the midst of the tantrum this morning, I had her laid down in front of me for a few minutes while I changed into clean sweats (yes, I wish my wardrobe was perfect too but at least these are new and overpriced). I made a silly face at her and she broke into the biggest, most delicious smile I’ve seen from her yet. She would just not stop smiling as I continued to sing and chat to her, and even though no major noise escaped, I could hear the teeny-tiniest little start of a giggle at the back of her throat.
I might have been standing in my bedroom in sweatpants with no makeup on and my wet, wild hair thrown carelessly into a mom bun. I might have had the work of three hand maids waiting for me in the other room as my apartment hasn’t been cleaned in ten days. I might have listened to the curious rustlings of my dog who was retrieving a bag of trail mix and shredding it, leaving nuts and chocolate all over my dining room floor. (Plus a soiled diaper — awesome!) But as that little girl looked up at me and gave me the world’s most generous smile, looking just like her daddy, I realized that it’s all worth it for the moments that really and truly are perfect.
I wish you many of those in 2015.