Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The New Perfection

I'm gonna give it to you straight here. I don't have my shit together. Right now there are dishes in the sink, laundry molding in the washer, soap scum in my shower. I have thank you's that have not been written. I have 4 day old mascara on. I have no idea what I am going to feed my daughter for dinner. And this is on a GOOD day. Some days, it feels like a trip to the nut factory is just a breath away. Sometimes, truth be told, a stay in the looney bin seems like it might be a nice vacation.

I AM NOT PERFECT. Despite how I try to appear to be. Despite my efforts to seem totally with it, I am not. Oh, I may have my makeup and jewelry on. My clothing may not be stained. My kids may be clean. But I am in a constant head space of "Why can't I do it all???!!!"

Because nobody can, that's why.

I find myself fighting at all times to do the things that need to be done. To clean the house, to constantly keep my daughter entertained. To keep my son stimulated so he doesn't turn into a blob. To keep up my realtionship with my husband so he doesn't find somebody cuter, funnier...or somebody who doesn't smell like baby lotion because she ran out of Victorias Secret lotion over a month ago.

Cause that's what we are supposed to be right? We are supposed to be bombshells in our aprons and heels. We are supposed to be the soccer mom, the PTA mom, the mom who makes the best cookies and never raises her voice. The hot mom who seduces her husband often and with great creativity.

We are supposed to love staying home, to not find it tedious. We are not supposed to long for adult conversation or a martini or a hot meal. We are supposed to sacrifice. We are supposed to give all.

But let me ask you something. If you give all to everyone else...what's left? And if you deplete yourself...who takes care of everyone else when you tank? Vicious cycle.

We aren't supposed to be honest about the loneliness. We aren't suppposed to talk about how caring for children can be sort of like an abusive realtionship- put all of your love and care into someone who is not invested in giving anything back to you. We aren't supposed to say "IF I HEAR BARNEY ONE MORE TIME I AM GONNA FIND HIS PURPLE ASS AND MAKE HIM DISAPPEAR!!!!" or "Dude, I have had people hanging off of me all day. Please don't touch me." or " I want to run away."

We are supposed to be perfect, all sacrificing martyrs.

Screw that.

I have worked since I was 13. I spent 16 years taking care of other peoples children. I worked hard...very hard. AND THIS IS HARDER BY FAR.

I am responsible for getting 2 little people into adulthood without any psychosis or permanent injuries. I have to be 2 steps ahead at all times. In see the accidents waiting to happen, the creepy guy at the park. I see the unlocked medicine cabinet and the unhelmeted head. I weigh safety at all times. I am constantly on the lookout for death.


Perfection is not possible. And striving for it is an exercise in futility.

So I say the new perfection is this- if I make it thru the day and nobody is bleeding, if everyone is fed and has had at least one veggie and fruit, if there were hugs and kisses and I love yous, it is imperfectly perfect.

I may be the mother at the park yelling at her kid, I may prop my sons cereal bottle just to get five minutes to do laundry, I may feign sleep to get out of sex...but I am doing the best I can.

And I bet you are too. So let's rebel agaist this idea of perfection together, shall we? I'll be the one at the park giving my daughter easter Peeps and gatorade for a snack because I forgot to pack a healthy one. You will be the one with spitup on your shirt and peaches in your hair.

And neither one of us will be ashamed.

Meet ya there. :)

Friday, April 2, 2010


Holy week this year has been very different than any other year for me. I have been thinking alot about Christ and the path he took. How each day of Holy Week has such different meaning, and the whole of the week holds the entire scope of the human experience.

Obviously, Good Friday is by far the most physical suffering Jesus endured. But can you imagine how he felt, just the night before, breaking bread with his apostles and knowing he would be betrayed? Or, and my eyes always fill with tears at the image...of Christ kneeling to pray in the garden of Gethsemane and turning to find his apostles had fallen asleep when he asked them to stay awake and pray? The deep ache and loneliness, the despair as he cried out to God and asked to be spared. Scripture says an angel came to comfort him, as he sweated great tears of blood.

Can you imagine?

He came to be fully human and walk this earth as we do. He was, at the same time, fully divine. A mystery our human minds cannot encompass. But he experience the very depth of despair we can. He felt it all...he was betrayed, left alone, mocked, belittled... anything and everything we can go through. He felt it all.

This is the beauty of Christianity. We love a God who knows, intimately, every aspect of our lives. He has felt it all, experienced it all. He knows our struggles and forgives our iniquities. He accepts us back when we fall. He gave himself to the world, knowing he would have to be sacrificed. He sat in the garden, alone, praying to God. He asked to be spared, but also said "Thy will be done."

And then, then he was betrayed, arrested, and walked calvary. Was mocked and beaten. Spit upon. He carried his cross, he was crucified. He was raised among thieves, to die like a criminal.

And even then, he was Jesus. Even then he was gentle. He was already fulfilling the prophesy as he was in agony of death. When asked by the man next to him to remember him, he said, "Today you will be with me in Paradise". Already, he was becoming the bridge between God and man. In his own human agony, he was saving humanity. As the blood that saved the world was being shed, he was already saving. He asked his Father in heaven to forgive.

And then, he died. The temple curtain was torn, the world plunged into darkness. The centurions at the foot of the cross declared that he must be the son of God. The dead rose from their tombs.

And they took him down. The wrapped him and gave him to his mother. This image is what haunts me. His mother, who birthed him, who nursed him and loved him, who followed him every step of calvary...she was given his body. She knew who he was. She knew he was the son of God. But the agony of holding her dead son, her baby...takes me breath away. She had watched him suffer. She had watched him walk with a crown of thorns. And as she did, she must have been picturing his small hand in hers. She must have been remembering him teaching in the temple. She must have thought of the first moment she looked into his eyes. And she had watched him die.

We have seen many images of Christ being held by his mother after he was taken from the cross. But for me, the most beautiful, the most realistic depiction is Michelangelo's Pieta.

The first time I saw it, I didn't understand. This is her child, and she is not even holding him close. But now, as a mother, I see it differently. The horror of the moment, even though it was prophesied, even though she knew it was his destiny, it overcame her. She cannot even touch him, she cannot cradle him close. She can only reach one hand in supplication to God as she looks down at him. She cannot even look at his face, her suffering is so great. Michelangelo had great insight into the human mind. He depicted something so horrific and sad in such beauty.

So this is Good Friday. A day we mourn the suffering of our Savior, but also a day we look forward to what we know is coming- his resurrection. His glory. On this day, we were saved.