Perfect

PERFECT: being entirely without fault or defect; flawless; satisfying all requirements; corresponding to an ideal standard or abstract concept

It’s Mother’s Day.  I should write an ode to my perfect mother.  But I can’t.   

I’m reminded of something my father said once about funerals.  He said he hates eulogies because by the time they are over, you can’t even recognize the person who is being eulogized.  He complained that eulogies only share the “good stuff” and leave out the “real stuff.”  Eulogies make people sound like saints instead of friends.  I feel the same way about most Mother’s Day cards. 

There is lots of “good stuff” about my mom.  But, there is also lots of “real stuff.”  

She meddles.  When she caught Husband ironing his own clothes, she attempted to wrestle the iron out of his hands and hollered to inform me “Husband is ironing!”  My response: “Great, we need to leave in ten minutes!”  Apparently, that was not the response she raised me to offer.  According to my mother, it is unacceptable for a husband do his own ironing.  [To keep the peace, I now make sure Husband is dressed and has put the ironing board away before my mom arrives.] 

She loses her temper as only an Irish woman can.  

She offers unsolicited advice and insights.  Often.  The week before my wedding she mentioned that she had been journaling about my faults.  She offered to share her insights with me.  I declined the offer.  She considers self-help and personal growth books appropriate gifts.

She knows (and uses) bad words.   

She worries about weird stuff.  Like the time she called days after a family gathering because she was deeply concerned about something that had happened.  I was baffled, since the only thing I remembered was a delightful afternoon full of laughter and cousins frolicking.  But, apparently I had forgotten the portion of the afternoon when I completely emasculated Husband by letting him change Son’s diaper. 

But, here’s the thing:  I love her.  Today and every day.  She’s my mom. 

Her penny-pinching made my childhood experiences and college education possible.  Her sewing skills kept me in custom Hammer Pants with matching hair scrunchies for years.  She introduced me to Gilbert Blythe and Mr. Darcy.  She opened a world of adventure when she took me hiking and camping.  She taught me how to preserve food and host a party on a budget. 

I am grateful for all the “good stuff.”  But, I am also grateful for the “real stuff.” 

Because in the midst of raising children it is a great comfort to know for certain that children are capable of loving flawed mothers.  I make mistakes.  All. The. Time.  Some mistakes I’m quick to identify and correct.  Others I’m sure I won’t see until years down the road when hindsight works its corrective vision magic.  My kids will make a different list of my “real stuff” but they will have a list. 

Here’s to all the flawed moms out there.  

Happy Mother’s Day!

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17 thoughts on “Perfect

  1. Thank you for this very real Mother’s Day post. I can relate…different infractions on both sides at your house and mine, but the principle is the same. Still, the handmade cards I received today are surely evidence that however many flaws I have (and I do feel rather gifted in this department), my children see and appreciate the good stuff too. I feel very, very lucky.
    -Working on the Flaws in Toronto

      1. Quite possibly the best handmade card ever included a picture of a foot and a gift certificate for “a foot massage on the foot of my choice.” Classic kid #2.

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