Hello, Imperfection

As a teenager, I swore that I would never, ever be that mom in sweats. But here I am. I could let my pride get the best of me, but these days, it's convenience that often rules.
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If you saw me right now, you might wonder if I've left the house yet today. After all, I'm wearing shrunken, salmon-colored sweat pants with a grey, boxy, cropped (meaning too-short) sweatshirt. This is an outfit fit perhaps for a foggy-headed college student on a late morning coffee run.

And the answer is: yes. I've been all around town.

For the record, I was previously wearing a cute, pinstriped button down (Daisy Duke style minus the belly showing) with jeans and cowgirl boots. But, hey, I was trying to manage two little boys and meet a writing deadline at the same time. They're called sweats for a reason.

I'd like to say that this is a rare occurrence, but the parents at my children's schools might disagree.

As a teenager, I swore that I would never, ever be that mom in sweats. But here I am. I could let my pride get the best of me, but these days, it's convenience that often rules.

Like when I ignored my husband's texts today because I didn't want to stop what I was doing -- again -- to type a reply. I already had a 4-year-old climbing me like a tree frog and a 1-year-old trying to escape his older brother's belly flops. Onto him.

By the time I got my husband's third "Hello??" text, I realized I was teetering on the brink of marital neglect, so I managed a quick, "hi, busy, all good," reply.

I didn't even ask him how he was.

But I think I need to give myself a break. After all, it was only this morning that, while dropping my son off at preschool, I tripped over my feet, throwing my baby onto a reading cushion (thankfully) before ricocheting off of a bookshelf and wall.

I have a big lump on my forehead and shin to show for it.

When I came up for air and caught the eyes of another mom in the room, all I could do was laugh.

What can I say? Some days I've got it together a lot more than others. And those days are lovely. But other days, I'm staring face-to-face with the reality that life is often messy.

And sometimes, so am I.

And while I know how important it is to take care of myself -- and be there for those I love -- the truth is that I'm getting more acquainted with imperfection with every passing year... and additional kid.

So when I stare at all of the unfinished projects that remain in my house, or find my eyes drawn to the already loosening skin of my neck, or apologize for losing my patience yet again, I remember her: imperfection.

She teaches me humility when my vanity gets the best of me. And reminds me that, no matter how much I prepare or do or accomplish, I will have plenty of failures and unfinished business along the way.

And while I might be tempted to believe that it's a sign of my inadequacy, she reminds me that it is, instead, a sign of my humanity.

And that the more compassion I cultivate towards myself because of that, the more that I will have to give my children and husband and clients and friends and strangers.

And when my daughter is stuck in a moment and being hard on herself, I hope that she might see how I, myself, am making room for imperfection, this unwanted guest who, when embraced, offers us far more gifts than we might initially see.

Like holding ourselves more lightly -- and finding humor in the chaos of our lives.

And with so much that is hard and unfair and painful in this world of ours, humor and lightness and compassion -- bred, in large part, from our ability to embrace her -- goes a long, long way.

So perhaps the next time I get smoked by the 20-somethings on the timed mile run or flub a client call I will greet her more quickly and, I'll go so far as to suggest, with more gratitude and love.

Hello, Imperfection. Thank you for reminding me that life is to be lived, fully. Not packaged neatly.