One of my favorite memories happened on a day when nothing had seemed to go right. I just couldn't do what I thought I had to do. There weren't enough minutes in the day to be the mom I wanted to be. The house wasn't clean, the dishes were in the sink, the laundry wasn't done and who knows what else.
But I stood there in the middle of this mess of a house and said loudly, as if making an announcement to the world," YOU KNOW WHAT? I'M NOT PERFECT!! I CAN'T BE PERFECT! NO MATTER WHAT I DO, MY HOUSE WILL NEVER BE PERFECT, LIFE WILL NEVER BE PERFECT AND YOU KNOW WHAT? IT'S OK!! I DON'T HAVE TO BE PERFECT." My daughter looked at me and said "Mom, I'm so glad you said that! I'm so glad you said that." We hugged and laughed and understood each other completely at that moment. In some way, I was giving my daughter permission to not have to be perfect, and she had given me the best gift she could ever give.
I remember that day every once in awhile. Probably not often enough. Yesterday while pondering this, I came up with some amusing thoughts that pretty well define the person that I am. I am consistently inconsistent, I am perfectly imperfect, I am a conservative non-conformist, I am a sentimental cynic, I am a quiet extrovert, I am an outgoing introvert, I am neatly messy, I am a lazy hard worker, I am a determined scatterbrain, I am a dichotomy: something with seemingly contradictory qualities. Which would explain my frustration at times, when I'm trying my best to be consistent, perfect, to conform, to be outgoing, to work hard, to be determined in my focus. Whew! Life will never be what we desire. How can it be with what I have to work with!
“If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world” C.S. Lewis
I'm not sure how well that quote fits into what I've been writing about, but I really love C.S. Lewis quotes and this one speaks to me about the desire to be more than we can be, and the desire to accomplish something that is always just beyond reach. Maybe someday we'll understand.
"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. Now faith, hope, love, abide these three, but the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:12-13
The gift my daughter gave to me that day was love. Unconditional love. The greatest gift of all.