Perfect Imperfection

Summer is winding down around here. We try to deceive ourselves into thinking that we still have 100 glorious days of fun and fireflies, of swimming and s’mores ahead of us, but the truth is that in just three weeks we will be sending Bubs off to school again, and we will all be settling into a new routine.

There is so much we haven’t done this summer– so much I wanted to do– swimming at the beach, romping at the splash park, watching a movie at the bandshell. We have made memories, but sometimes I worry that we haven’t done enough. That my kids will look back to the summer of ’09 and only remember the things we didn’t do– the vacation we didn’t take, the strawberries we didn’t pick. They seem content enough, but what if?

And suddenly all the epic Mommy-and-Bubs bonding time I had planned to squeeze into this summer has evaporated into to-do lists and crazy work schedules and exhausted mornings. He’s three weeks from first grade and I’m so busy doing laundry and cleaning up spit-up and trying not to fall asleep during Sesame Street that I am missing out on his one and only summer of being six.

It is so easy to be hard on myself for failing to create idyllic memories of summer perfection, even though I know that perfection is an unattainable goal, and idyllic just doesn’t happen very often in families with three kids. I guess it’s normal to feel a little blue as I face the end of the summer and all that comes with it. But today I am choosing to focus on what we have done instead of what we haven’t done.

We have spent two marvelous weekends at my parents’ house, making kites and eating pancakes and getting spoiled.

We have enjoyed the unusually cool summer on many walks and trips to the park.

We have listened to Bubs read a whole bunch of books with his new-found literacy.

We have danced in the rain.

We have made root beer floats.

We have introduced the boys to the glory and splendor of a strawberry creme frappucino.

We have spent twilights at the park while my sweetie played softball.

We have eaten hamburgers and hot dogs black off the grill, s’mores sticky and gooey from the fire, slushes cold and sweet and delightful.

We have made playdough, painted rocket ships, built lego castles, banged drums, raced hot wheels, planted flowers, and taken pictures.

We have watched parades, concerts, fireworks, and Word Girl.

We have learned how to make Little One smile, and discovered ways to make her laugh.

We have memorized new Bible verses, sung new songs, and watched new movies to the crunch of popcorn.

We have licked popsicle juice from our fingertips, washed chocolate from our faces, and shared sticky kisses and sloppy hugs.

We have waded in the creek, jumped in the inflatable pool, and sprayed each other with the hose.

We have made leaf rubbings and grass snowmen and jello cake and messes– oh, the messes.

We have looked on in horror as Bubs’ pants got shorter seemingly overnight, and we have danced with joy when Stinky took a nap without an accident.

We have watched these boys of ours grow closer to the Lord. We have prayed with them and for them and seen those prayers answered as they help, and obey, and speak kindly.

We have laughed, we have cried; we have argued and made up and raced and tickled and laughed some more.

We haven’t seen perfection.

We have seen life, in all its imperfection.

And somehow, it has been perfect.

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21 thoughts on “Perfect Imperfection

  1. Sounds to me like you’ve made some great memories. The best ones are always the ones you don’t plan or manufacture.

  2. Seems like you have made lots and lots of memories for everyone! Remember that as the kids get older the summers grow shorter (it seems) till they are flying by and you are wondering where they went and if you did anything the kids will remember. They do, believe me, they do!!

  3. Thanks for the list! I had been feeling angst over the things we did not get around to doing. When I read your list it reminded me of all the memories we made in The Bird’s summer of being three years old and how priceless those things are. Thanks for the list! Your summer looks perfect.

  4. Sounds like a glorious summer to me.

    when Abby was six I had just started working full time and went back to school and Lilly was just a baby and I had very similar feelings.

    Looking back from where we are now, She doesn’t think about it like that. She remembers the good stuff- and that make me feel a whole lot better about it all.

  5. i am so glad i am not the only mother who feels this way! i just never shared it with anyone. 🙂 thanks for making me feel normal again!

    this summer has been super crazy with packing/moving/unpacking and look, it’s the end of july already 😦

    we have had a great summer but it has flown by so fast, and i too, feel like they are missing out on things somehow.

  6. Oh my, I could have written this post. I constantly feel like I’m not doing enough to make the most of each day. You’ve inspired me to make a list of the things we HAVE done – there’s probably more than I realized. Thanks!

  7. Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog.

    I actually really relate to your post. summer has flown by…but I realize it has because it has been full. Full of life. We have had some big deal fun this summer, but it is also all of the small moments. And…LIFE comes with crazy work schedules and busyness and fullness. Our kids know that as normal life and I can only hope the moments we make (or steal) with them in the midst of it all show our devotion to them in the midst of it all.

    Great post.

  8. It sounds like a memorable summer that could fill pages and pages of scrapbooks.
    You have a beautiful family.

    Thank you for stopping by and leaving the sweet comment.

    Have a gloriously blessed day!

  9. Love summer & this post made me treasure it even more!

    Erin, my sister Pam has bragged on your blog to me several times & I finally decided to stop by and check it out. WOW! I have looked back through several entries & you have made me laugh and cry all in about 5 minutes. You are such a gifted writer and your beautiful pictures perfectly complete the stories you are telling.
    I loved seeing all your beautiful children.
    I’ll be back {grin}

    Debbi

  10. I love your post…it’s so real. I’m not sure why we all struggle so hard with this “summer thing”. I know I do. It seemed so easy for my parents…maybe it’s just the “times”? Sounds like you are creating a great down to earth life for your kids and that’s a good thing! Enjoy your last few weeks!!!!

  11. hi there, i love this post. I enjoy the way you write. And I completely relate to your sentiment, although I feel I have packed way too *much* into our summer, and I am feeling it now. I think its something we all struggle with as mothers – are we doing enough? too much? I think our own mothers still struggle with this in wondering what they should or shouldn’t be doing for their grown children (who are now mothers themselves). It helps to know we are not alone, to talk about it. So thanks for sharing, and thank you for commenting on my blog, too. Its always nice to hear from people. 🙂

  12. I agree whole heartedly! Katie also discovered the joy of the strawberry creme frappicuno this summer! 🙂 Here’s to summer fun and the bittersweetness of watching your children grow!

  13. oh, beautiful, beautiful!
    the little things add up… to a wonderful summer. and you never know… it all may have been even better than a vacation! woo-hoo, for taking time to celebrate the little things!

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