Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Breathe {inspiration for Wednesdays}

We have a joke in our house that instead of saving for our kids college funds, we should put the money aside for the therapy they are going to need after being raised by us!  Don't get me wrong...I think I am being a good parent, but inevitably, as I do my best, I know I am passing on some form of dysfunction to my kids.  (This is probably NOT encouraging news to any new parents who still believe that eventually this parenting thing will "click" and they'll know how to do it.  My advice?  Stop reading this post right now...or begin to drop the idea of "perfect" being in the same sentence as parenting!)

The longer I am a mother (which has been for 14 years now), the more amazed I am at how well my kids have turned out!  Sure, I have been intentional about a lot of things, but the implementation of those ideals has been less than spectacular.  If I am honest, the beauty I see growing out of my kids has arisen from a string of imperfect moments.

It reminds me of a gift I bought for my daughter about three years ago.  While in China, I purchased a custom made pearl necklace for her - to wear on her wedding day.  We were at the Pearl Market in Guangzhou, and if you have ever been there, the amount of pearls available is staggering!  There are bags stacked up against the walls of shops - all shapes and colors.  And there are these amazing, little, skillful women stringing the pearls together and creating pieces of art called necklaces.

Though there were all sorts of peals to choose from, I chose the irregular, not-exactly-spherical, imperfect pearls to have the necklace made from.  Part of the reason was to save some money (what can I say...I am cheap!), but the other part was I could see a delicate, haphazard, sweet and messy beauty from those pearls dancing together.  It made me smile and sigh...all at the same time.  I felt more at home with the irregularities than with the perfectly rounded and sized, stately strands of pearls.

As I watched skillful hands take each of those pearls, put them on a string, and put knots between each pearl, they created order out of the irregular pile and allowed each pearl to have its place and bring its own elegance to the whole.  Each pearl had a place on its own merit, but also brought a sense of beauty to each and every other one.

Isn't that just like parenting?  The pile of irregular, messy, imperfect moments, when strung and spaced out shows the creation of a beautiful life!  Sure, I can get stuck in the piles (of laundry, of dishes, of diapers, of homework, of emotion, of exhaustion, of _______________ fill in your own blank) but after time, a pattern emerges from the chaos and we find it to be a beautiful imperfection.

And yes...I have made plenty of mistakes (and will make plenty more!) but each moment is tied together with the others by a thread of love.  Love is what holds the imperfect moments together and what gives it its definition.  Love is the string that creates the necklace - what defines it as beautiful art - no matter how imperfect.  (Ask any mother who has ever worn a necklace made by and given to her by little hands.)

My point?  Learn to love the imperfect moments and see the beauty in them.  Let them be strung into a work of imperfect beauty.

Wishing a Happy Mother's Day to all who mother imperfectly - but beautifully with love!! 
(And if you have a mother...go buy her a pearl necklace!!)

Breathe, smile and go slowly.

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