Some days, perfect is homemade, homegrown, or handsewn.It's the soup made from bone broth, or the quiche with eggs fresh from the farm, or the bread kneaded by hand.
It's the wreath woven from vines found on a nature walk, or the table set with mismatched yet perfectly coordinating serving bowls.
I feel a lot of "perfect" pressure around special occasions. I feel a lot of "perfect" pressure when I see photos online, or read Facebook updates. Is everyone else doing it better? Doesn't anyone else kill the yeast or melt the chick brooder? Doesn't anyone else deal with weather, or technical malfunctions or just run out of money?
Everyone else must have more money, right? That's how they afford the stainless steel popsicle molds, or the $300 handspun yarn or the home that looks like a charming little cabin, but is somehow big enough to accommodate a home music studio and 6 bedrooms, right?
Doesn't anyone else ever find themselves in a mall, four days before Father's Day, so overwhelmed, determined to get the one (perfect) thing they came for so they can boycott the place for six more months?
Did everyone else start their heartfelt father's day gifts months ago? Is that where I went wrong? Is that how I ended up in this hell-pit, trying to explain to my kids that the puppies kept in cribs at a store called "Furry Babies," are very sweet, and that someday we will get a puppy, but that we don't have $600 right now, and well, even if we did ...
I feel like there are moms out there who don't deal with this. They just don't. They don't deal with Barbies in the supermarket or neighbor kids who think their house is boring because there's no cable or gaming system. They have their bubble -- or at least it looks like that from here. They shop at a co-op, and their kids play with pinecones. No one argues in their house and no one questions their parenting.
Do they ever even have a moment of standing in a giant book store and wondering why half of it is filled with stuffed animals?
We don't know. But from a distance, it all seems very perfect -- it seems unattainably perfect.
So some days, what becomes perfect is a giant hot pretzel, split three ways. It's a train ride around the mall, creeping slowly past a Hollister, praying to God that your daughter continues to want to wear her brother's old clothes to the park until she's 32.
It's this quote, from a happy girl: "Mama, thank you for letting us ride the escalators and the elevator and the train."
Or this one: "This pretzel is unbelievable, Mom. We have GOT to learn how to make these."
Sometimes perfect is embracing what is there, drinking that too-sweet lemonade and listening to your kids giggle when a train takes off and a little computerized conductor creaks: "All Aboard!"
I often forget that what brings my kids happiness is really all the perfect we need.
And that seeing the world through their eyes can be a reminder that today, well ... today, I think was at least good enough.