There is a certain perfection to the imperfect…and for me, now the once scary imperfect reminds me of all the good years raising my children. I conquered the new child, work and a spotless home, only to be exhausted and without any extra time. When the second child arrived, I tried to do the same. Only to be disappointed by my inability to keep bottles washed and slipcovers smelling clean and fresh from a monthly washing. My home was no longer camera ready for a House Beautiful shoot. And that aggravated me. Surprise! Child number three. Three under four. The perfect house was gone forever.
But then something fantastic happened, we all started actually LIVING in our home. An early morning Mother’s Day breakfast prepared by my kids produced a grape juice stain on my English antique table, one of my favorite pieces. I said nothing, the joy from my kids surprise breakfast suddenly outweighed by the permanent stain on my table. Then my son pounded out his favorite Disney tune on that same table with pots and pans. Lots of dents. As they grew, many activities transpired on top that table. First nail painting for my two girls, a working paper mâché volcano build by my son. Slowly I started to see the perfection in it all. I realized all our family memories were not confined to the occasional picture taken during those good times. I relived them each time I set the table, each time I set a vase of wildflowers in the center. ( usually weeds gifted to me by one of the kids). The grape stain reminded me every day of my kids smiling faces on that early Mother’s Day breakfast. The dents on the side an indicator that my son would love music…and so I adapted, happily. A water glass stain here, a still soiled slipcover from 4 boys sitting on the sectional just home from baseball practice. I loved all our stains, water and wine rings. Our Slipcovers that should have been washed weeks ago waiting until school starts in September,.. Ours was the house to hang out at. Mom relaxed and family followed.
Now my children are all grown and out of the house. I rarely look at their graduation head shots next to my bed. I live among my lived in home every day. And I love my lived in home. Now, my slipcovers are spanking clean again and my beautiful antique table sits right outside the kitchen. I go sit there and have breakfast when the weather is nice; grape stains, dents and bright pink nail polish wrap around me with a joy that a photo could never do.
The pen mark on my slipcovered chair could be fixed now by just replacing the scribbled up arm panel. But I can’t let go of that slipcover with my son’s drawings… That was a day I learned my son was in fact, a lefty. Just like me.