I love a good plan. I love carrying out plans. I love everything coming together flawlessly. I am a perfectionist. It used to cause me a lot of anxiety when things did not go according to plan and were not perfect. But then I learned something that changed my life. Things that don’t go perfectly make for much better stories. The more off-track things go, the better the story becomes! Thankfully, I embraced this lesson well before having a baby. Parenthood is never perfect and I have learned to LOVE the stories that come from the imperfect times.
Take, for instance, my daughter’s first birthday party. I made the sweetest homemade cupcakes with delicious buttercream frosting (from real Irish butter, no less!) and decorated them with pink sugar. She looked darling in her little pink, white, and silver outfit and loved being center stage in her high chair smiling at all her admirers. After an enthusiastic, if off-key, rendition of Happy Birthday, she got her cupcake and took her first taste of buttercream – and promptly lost her lunch. She wasn’t ill, or anxious, and happily when back to playing once we took the cupcake away and she was cleaned up. She just hated the frosting that much!
What a wonderfully imperfect first birthday! No traditional cake smash for her!
I look back on my own childhood and the moments that stand out most are the ones that didn’t go as planned. Most of the times that my family joyously relive are the ones that occurred in less than ideal circumstances. Like the time my brother, sister, and I learned what a vibrating bed was when the only available motel room in Tipton, Missouri included that curious contraption. Or crossing Death Valley in the summer with 4 adults and 6 children under 13 crammed in a Mini-Winnebago without air conditioning only to discover later that my dad and uncle just forgot to plug something in to make it work.
So even though I still try for picture perfect execution, I have learned to enjoy, even more, the good stories that come along with life being perfectly imperfect.