When my newborn son was placed on my chest, I gushed, “He’s perfect.”
I spent my entire teaching career encouraging my students to just try their best. Their effort was just as important (if not more) than the outcome. I always reminded them that there was no such thing as “perfect” -- we were people after all, not robots. They knew I wasn’t perfect: I mis-spelled words occasionally (“occasionally” being one of the words I mis-spelled), I spilled paint on my shoes, I couldn’t whistle. But I tried my best, and I always wanted my students to try their best.
But, when my infant son was placed on my chest, I saw perfection. Thankfully, he was born healthy and happy -- content and not screaming, with wide open brown eyes, eager to look around and take in his surroundings. He was a miracle; a new human being, that a short time before hadn’t even existed.
He was the epitome of the potential of the human race: purity and goodness, faith and innocence, honesty and honor.
Five years later, and I am back to the belief that there is no such thing as “perfection.” It doesn’t exist long-term. Motherhood has taught me that there are moments of perfection, if not whole days than hours, that could pass off as perfect. No arguments, no conflicts, no struggles -- a happy family enjoying one another’s company. And to better appreciate these fleeting moments of perfection, there are the “anything-but-perfect” moments. Moments when a broken slice of American cheese will send a child into hysterics.
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the not-perfect moments, and forget that until the last five minutes, it was a great day, filled with a laughing, happy, safe family. I now aspire for moments of perfection to help me get through all the other moments. My son may not always behave “perfectly,” but when he’s sleeping, when our home is cozy and settled and safe, all is right and perfect in my world.