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Nothing's Perfect

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By Kimara - Posted on 16 September 2008

Raising three children you quickly learn their individual needs. For example, my daughter, the oldest, needed extra time at night for her tuck in. By nature, she was a night owl. She was not ready to shut down at 8:00 p.m. when her brothers were tucked in, so we’d sit and chat or play an endless array of word games, most of which we made up, until she was ready to settle in. When she got older and started reading chapter books on her own, she’d often lie in bed, reading, until sleep overcame her.

My middle child, the oldest son, pretty much passed out after a story and a song. He played hard during the day, and bed was a welcomed friend. He, however, needed a slow and leisurely wake up. The first 15 minutes of the day set the tone for the rest of his day. If rushed in the morning he was apt to be ill tempered and off the rest of the day. So, I usually began his wake up process 15 minutes before he needed to get up. I’d rub his back, hum little tunes, and as he became responsive, we’d discuss the up and coming day. By helping him to get centered in the morning, his chances for a successful, pleasant day were greatly improved.

My youngest, also a son, was an amiable opportunist. As the third he learned early to take attention when attention was given, to play the games his older siblings played and to sleep when a quiet moment presented itself. He had a jovial personality, and like many third children, became the family diplomat. He always sought me out when he needed to talk, and I just needed to be in tune to his subtle nuances. Even as a teen he’d wait until I had a quiet moment, usually when I went up to read in the evening, to come in and plop on my bed. Then I'd know it was time to close my book and to listen.

So, red flags went up one evening, when I went up to read at 10:00 p.m. and found my oldest son, then 7 years old, still up. I went into his room, sat on the bed and asked…

Me: What’s up?

Him: I’m trying to think of something that’s perfect, and I can’t.

Me: I’m a little confused. What do you mean?

Him: I just want to know that something is perfect.

Me: Why does something have to be perfect?

Him: Because what’s the use of doing anything if you know there’s no chance of it being perfect?

Me: Well, sometimes we can have a perfect day. Everything seems to go right, and we’re happy.

Him: But it’s still not perfect. There is always something different you could have done that would have made the day better.

Me: Well, sometimes when I’m in the garden, I marvel at a perfect flower.

Him: But if you looked at it really closely under a magnifying glass, you’d see it wasn’t perfect at all. SOMETHING would be wrong with it. It might look perfect, but it wouldn’t be.

At this point I’m wondering how many other mothers around the world, at this precise moment, were having the same conversation with their 7 year olds. I was inclined to believe the number was undoubtedly infinitesimally small!

Me: Well, I guess you’re right, nothing is perfect, but that doesn’t mean that things aren’t good. We can be pretty happy with things that aren’t perfect. I’m not perfect, and you’re not perfect, but I love you and you make me happy.

Him: (Not satisfied and getting a little annoyed.) I KNOW that BUT there must be something that is perfect.

Me: (Now knowing that unless I offered him something that was perfect, he would not be at peace, so I whipped out the Spiritual card.) Well, maybe there isn’t anything perfect here on Earth, but we are told, that Heaven is perfect.

Him: (Mulling this over) Hmmm, so Heaven is perfect?

Me: That’s what we are told.

Him: And everyday will be perfect?

Me: (Now feeling the smugness of imminent victory.) Yep.

Him: Wouldn’t that be boring?

There are times in our life when we all crave perfection…a perfect partner, a perfect fitting pair of jeans, or a perfect resolution to a nagging problem. In the words of a very profound and often enigmatic 7 year old, wouldn’t that be boring?

Indeed, there is nothing perfect in this world. It is just about how we look things in our own perspective, whether it is bad or good. - Marla Ahlgrimm

Sarah I had to laugh at your description of your kids. That is totally how mine are. The oldest takes his time to warm up to things, the quiet observer. The second is an outgoing daredevil with no fear or inhibitions (she scares me to death!!!!) and the third just wants her mommy time and is a ham... trying to steal a little spot light.

Nothing is perfect but every now and then you get those moments, where everyone is happy, everyone is healthy and if you catch it you can take a deep breath and enjoy it for a second... because it is definitely short lived.

LOL - maybe it is the pessimist in me but of course those 'perfect moments' do end up feeling like the calm before the storm. If it is so good this week... then next week chaos must ensue. Doesn't help that all those 'great books' I spent all those years of advanced English reading use those perfect moments as the plot turning point... 'Isn't it Ironic' type deal.

As for perfect jeans... definitely sign me up for 2 or 3 pairs of those!!! ;)

I think where you are sets your expectations. When everything is going good, you can look for perfection. At other times your level of satisfaction can be much lower. Just getting by sometimes looks real good.

And I've had similar discussions with my kids. At times you feel like you've settled everything, then boom! They throw you for a loop. Perfection might be boring but kids certainly aren't!

Sarah, I really like your comment about how would we even know if something was perfect? But as with many things, perfection is really in the eyes of the beholder. What I may consider "perfect", you would think is not even close to being perfect! My youngest is a bit of a perfectionist. We'll see how it all pans out as he gets older. But, I can already see it when he is building something and it doesn't come together like he wants it too. He gets so frustrated!

However, the perfect pair of jeans would definitely not be boring!!

Cute blog but also thought provoking. Having three kiddos myself I so see such different personalities emerging. My oldest, a son, is cautious. Always watches before joining in. My middle, a daughter, is my dare devil. She does things my son never would consider doing. She'll talk to anyone and I both admire her and at the same time she scares the heck out of me. And my youngest, like yours, is just happy to be included in things!

Out of the mouth of babes, right? Perfect really doesn't exist. I think we often try for it and are disappointed when we don't get it but I'm not sure any of us even knows what it is. Perfection is more like infinity. If you ever truly reached it, wouldn't there always be one more thing that would make it better?

Boy, you must have had your hands filled with your middle. I can't imagine my son having that conversation with me and he's about the same age!