If you have kids then you’ll understand me when I tell you that my kids can watch the same movie over and over and over and over and over as if it were the first time they were watching it. You don’t have to sit down and watch it with them because by the third time you know exactly what is going on just by the music and dialogue. It’s like it’s permanently engraved in your brain. Forever.
My three-year old daughter is obsessed with Moana; although her obsession of Anna and Elsa hasn’t worn off yet, she’s allowed herself to bring another Disney character into her life. She’ll sing at the top of her lungs “I wish I could be the perfect daughter” when she knows she’s going to get in trouble. She’ll bat her big brown eyes and look like an abandoned puppy from those commercials on TV that just break your heart.
Well one day I was having a rough start. I was lacking energy to do anything and I had a long list of things to do. I was feeling like a failure for whatever reason I can’t think of now and was just really having a hard day. She had been singing that Moana song all morning long and of course it was lodged in my head and I was also catching myself humming it.
I was cleaning out the fridge, throwing away left overs since God knows when, the baby was crying, and the oldest was being his usual 16-year-old self (except of course in the body of a five-year old). I lost it and belted out, in my non-Adele like voice, “I wish I could be the perfect mother but I keep failing and you guys deserve better.” (you know you just sang that to the tune of the song), and I went back to cleaning the fridge.
But something happened. My daughter, my sweet little flower came to where I was at, knelt next to me, wrapped her arms around me, and said in the sweetest most caring voice, “but you are a perfect mother.”
I lost it. I was kneeling in a puddle of my own heart. She did it. She broke me. And in a good way. I stared at her big brown eyes and I realized at that moment that she didn’t see the things I failed to do. She only saw the things I did do. To her I wasn’t a failure, a loser…or much less, worthless. To her I was perfect. She loves me just the way I am. With my imperfections and failures.
I’m not afraid to admit that sometimes I’m to hard on myself. Sometimes I’m afraid I’m doing this whole mothering thing wrong. I’m afraid that I haven’t spent enough time with them. I’m afraid that I’ve messed up somehow someway. And I beat myself up. I’m my own worst critic. I see all the things I’m not good at, all the qualities I wish I possessed as a mother that I don’t have, all the talents I wish I could have. I see what I’m not and don’t have while she sees what I do have and what I am. And to her I am perfect. In her world I’m her biggest role model. I’m who she looks up to.
That moment when I looked into her eyes I knew that as imperfect of a human being as I am, she doesn’t see that. None of them see those things. They only see the good in us. That’s the beauty of children. They know nothing but joy and while we’re beating ourselves up for whatever reason, they’re looking at us thinking how much they love us and want to be like us.
Through their eyes we are heroes, strong, smart, brave, perfect individuals. We conquer fears, and move mountains for them to be happy. We make their days come alive with all the wonder we bring to it. Through their eyes we are perfect and that’s all that matters. We may crumble, we may fall, we may have rough days, we may have grouchy attitudes, we may be at our wits end, but through their eyes we are perfect and every day spent with us is another day they get to experience the joy of having an imperfectly perfect mother in their lives.
These kids, they’ve changed me, I tell ya.