03 Jun Perfect Imperfection
My perfect summer day would go like this:
- Wake up refreshed.
- Drink coffee and read the Bible.
- Run 2 or 3 miles in 73 degree, sunny, windless weather on flat roads.
- Shower and eat breakfast.
- Spend time outside with kids – hiking or swimming.
- Eat lunch at a park or restaurant.
- Return home to a clean, tidy home for relaxation and rest for an hour.
- Write or blog for two hours without interruptions.
- Make dinner with ingredients that magically appear without me having to shop for them.
- Greet husband with a smile and a kiss when he arrives home from work on time. He’s stress free and has no more work to do the rest of the day.
- Walk around the block after dinner.
- Hang out in backyard with entire family enjoying our deck, swing set, pond, hammock, woods.
- Go out for slushies or ice cream.
- Snuggle up to watch a TV show or movie together as a family.
- Read to kids.
- Go to bed.
This perfect day has no shopping, no work, no housework, no laundry, no yard word. Breakfast and lunch take care of themselves, as do snacks. Dinner gets prepared only if I don’t have to get groceries. No one begs to be entertained by a screen. Siblings are kind and gracious to each other. We are all pleasant and well-rested. I have time to write without distractions because my well-behaved kids are able to occupy themselves and have no reason to bug me.
Of course, we all know this day won’t happen. Reality is real. Even though in less than two weeks the kids will be on summer break, I still have to go to work (to a job I love – so I don’t complain). While I’m away, the three of them will reluctantly follow their summer chore schedules to keep the house clean, but somehow the house will always be messy.
The laundry will pile up, not caring that it is vacation time – and I’ll continue my lifelong search for the fabled laundry fairy. The masses will still want fed so I’ll have to compile grocery lists and monitor inventory. If I don’t keep up with the supplies of toilet paper, shampoo, batteries, flip flops, popsicles, bagels – who will?
My writing time will be fragmented. I will wake up groggy more days than not. I will get sucked into the flashy time-waster that is my phone. My husband’s work will encroach upon peacetime. My children will be in and out of the house with friends and neighbors, making our family time fractured and scattered. My house will be trashed. The kids will fight, will slack on their chores, will let me down.
Embracing this kind of commotion is hard for me. It’s difficult to zone in on the richness of each moment.
Just this weekend, we loaded the kids in the minivan and drove to a covered bridge to feed some ducks. We admired the duck with a tuft of feathers resembling a mohawk. We inserted way too many quarters in the machine that dispensed corn kernels. We laughed at the Amish teenagers who drove over the bridge in their horse and buggy with rock music drifting out, totally misplaced. Darling were my children, my family, as they relished time outdoors. The world was a postcard, a snapshot to be displayed, remembered.
But I was distracted and cranky (only slightly cranky – no one noticed except maybe my husband) for fuzzy reasons I couldn’t pinpoint. Partly because I didn’t know what to make for dinner, partly because we were out of milk (big problems, I know), partly because I had unpleasant things swirling in my mind which I allowed to pull me away from the here and now, partly because I wanted to be home writing a blog post (ironic, eh?).
I snapped two pictures before giving up when no one would pose. When I looked at the photos a day later, I saw engaged children having fun, and I saw purity. And I kicked myself for missing the fullness because of my distraction.
This summer I am vowing to embrace the chaos of reality. So many people would kill for a life like mine (hopefully not literally). For list makers, planners, routine lovers like me, it’s a struggle (accompanied by guilt) to live in the moment, to experience joy as it happens.
So what I if I can’t have my prescribed perfect day? My eight-year-old and I went to a pottery studio this past weekend. We both decorated coffee mugs that will be put in the kiln for us to pick up later. I wrote on mine: “Imperfection is beauty.”
Can our days be beautiful as they are, as they unfold into imperfect masterpieces?
I think so.