Finding Joy in Imperfection
See those hearts on the right? I made those. You know those school projects where the kids are supposed to bring in something innocuous, like say, valentines? And you realize with dismay that your five-year-old is more likely to cut off her pinky than cut a heart-shape a dozen times over?
I hate the idea of my kids not doing their own homework, artwork, whatever. I refuse to be one of those parents that does their assignments for them.
Having gotten all that off my chest, I made valentines for the five-year-old. This was my assistance for her valentines: I would stamp and cut out some hearts and then glue that to her own drawings, and then cut that out into hearts. And have her write her own name and things on it.
So I did those perfect pink hearts on the right with a clean pink stamp pad and a clean heart-shaped foam stamp. When I (thought I) was done, I handed them to the three-year-old, who proceeded to demolish the foam heart and rub the pink and purple stamp pads together. I did what I do, hearth-mother that I am not; I rolled my eyes, thankful that I was done with the stamps, and put everything away when she was finished.
Until yesterday, when I re-read the class email and realized that I was short five valentines. I pulled out what was left of the heart stamp, and the dusky purplish-pink pad. I sighed at how these were so not going to match the rest and stamped a heart.
..and stared at how beautiful it was. Soft shades of lavender covered blushing hints of rose, and back again. My pink, generically-style heart looked trite and just plain canned next to the watercolor-softness of these new hearts. Hearts made with a foam stamp modified by a three-year-old, on a stamp pad seriously upgraded from one color to duotones. My child had just unknowingly created a secret present for me and left it for me to find. It felt like magic.
I choked up a little. Me, self-perceived heart-of-stone mother. Because this is what motherhood has been like for me: a stripping-away of all the preconceived notions of what being a mother should feel like, replaced by my own experiences of what mothering my children really means to me.
Seeing things in an entirely new way every day.
Happy Valentine’s Day, to you and yours.