It happens on a Tuesday evening. I am making dinner and supervising schoolwork in a kind of dance between the kitchen and the dining room table. I show the boys my finished picture– our lesson from Draw, Write, Now for the day– ducks in a pond. I painted it with watercolors and the paint has run so that the trees have blue spots and one of the brown ducks sports a greenish tumor on his back.
Oh well, it’s not perfect but I had fun.
The boys insist it looks nice in spite of the runny colors. It doesn’t have to be perfect, they remind me, repeating words I have told them many times during these drawing lessons.
No. I agree. Perfection is not necessary. It’s a good thing it doesn’t have to be perfect, because I’m not perfect at anything!
“You’re perfect at being a mom!” My eight year old stops me in my tracks. I have to admit, a little part of me is flattered. But mostly I am just in shock that anyone, even a child, could look at this mess of flesh and see perfection.
Oh honey, I’m so far from perfect. I make mistakes all the time.
“I know, Mom. You’re not that kind of perfect. You’re the other kind of perfect.” He looks at me and I can tell it is very important to him that I understand. And I do.
It’s the same kind of perfect that makes my husband and I, in all our imperfections, perfect for each other. The kind of perfect that is this family, in all our jumbled messy and crazy and irritated and frustrated and noisy. Somehow, it is a kind of perfection. Somehow.
He is eight and a half and he doesn’t see me the way I see me– overweight and exhausted and second-guessing every decision. He doesn’t see that my pants don’t fit right and my shoes are out of style and my complexion is a crisis of epic proportions. He just sees his mom, and he can’t imagine that any other mom would be right or good. I know this, because this is how I still see my parents.
I know this, because it’s what I see when I look at my blond boy with glasses and crooked teeth, and even though I see his weaknesses and problems, mostly I just see him, and he is perfect. Perfect for our family, perfect to be my boy, perfect.
And I return to my dinner dance with a smile.