Gum would be Perfection…

Posted on | September 1, 2011 | 8 Comments

There are two tupperware lids, that J calls “plates,” lying in the living room doorway.  There are two dirty socks balled up on the floor, just next to two dirty, red shoes, haphazardly kicked off by haphazard little feet.  Today’s clothes, size 2T, are strewn across the arm of the sofa and from my vantage point here, I can count five random pieces of five random toys that somehow landed here.

This is the room we live in.

The ottoman sits crooked, pulled too close to the sofa to catch wayward toddler arms and legs and heads, and the sofa pillows are all piled at one end, propping against each other like a mini tower of softness. The vacuum cleaner is plugged into the corner socket, still, from last weekend, waiting for this weekend to arrive and the chance to tidy up the crumbs and castaways from several afternoon snacks.  The magazine rack that used to sit on the floor is now sitting in the chair, full to the brim with whatever J’s little hands could reach and stuff and no less than three remote controls sit, backless with batteries exposed, on the edge of the window sill.

There is a bag of wipes next to the television.

There is a set of safety nail clippers next to the lamp.

This is a house that throws it’s arms wide and wraps them around life with a toddler.

When I first moved back to Macon I was very particular.  Items all had a place and places all had items.  There were nicknacks and curios sitting atop the bookshelves, there was a large glass bowl, with a candle in the middle surrounded by tiny red glass beads that sat on the dining room table.  There were boxes of china and crystal waiting to be unpacked and stored in the dining room hutch.  I was planning to have the perfect home and the perfectly manicured life.

And then, as often happens in life, life happened. My perfectly clean kitchen gathered smudges here and there and the cabinets grew cobwebs.  The carpet faded with the wear and tear of tiny toddler feet and the nicknacks and curios and dining room table centerpieces were placed higher and higher until they crested the tiptop corners of the rooms.  The boxes never did get unpacked.  The windows never did stay spotless.  The perfectly manicured life I wanted became chipped and cracked like weathered concrete, making way for tiny sprouts of life amidst the tarnished plans.

I wanted everything to be so perfect… I’ve always wanted everything to be so perfect.

But I’ve learned something lately… I’ve learned that perfection is not an absolute.  Perfection, like most abstract ideas, is just exactly what it is… an abstract idea.  It can be held and shaped and tweaked and turned.  It is merely the definition of having precisely what you need at the precise moment you need it.

It is nothing more and nothing less than feeling perfect with how things are, being perfect with how things go, and perfectly understanding that perfect is as perfect does, and as perfect has, and, well… you get the picture.  Once I stopped trying so hard to make my own life fit a mold of “perfection” in my head, I realized that I could put all my lofty goals in neutral and let the life I was living just be perfect. I could let go and be okay with the perfect I have: the house that I live in, the work that I do, and the me that I am.  I don’t try so hard to paint a Southern Living worthy picture in my house anymore… I’m too busy living life here.  I don’t try so hard to primp and press and scrub and shine… I am content with the perfect that I have in this house.  I am content with my new definition of perfection in my home.

Because now?  The perfect home for me and my son includes two tupperware lids, that J calls “plates,” lying in the living room doorway.


8 Responses to “Gum would be Perfection…”

  1. Mrs MidAtlantic
    September 2nd, 2011 @ 2:05 am

    “Bless this mess”

  2. Heather Griffitts Clark
    September 2nd, 2011 @ 4:47 am

    Have you been peeking in my house, hmmm? Who’s the voyeur now?!!?

    Seriously though – I understand your desire to have the Southern Living look – I wish I had the Pacific Northwest look. And maybe, one day, when our kids are teenagers, we will 🙂 In the meantime, those little signs of a house full of toddler? Soak it up, it passes all too quickly.

  3. Allison
    September 2nd, 2011 @ 1:37 pm

    I once had a very smart mother tell me, “A clean house is the number one sign that you aren’t spending as much time with your family as you need to.” When I’m overwhelmed by the dirty floors and dust on the furniture… I repeat it over and over until I beleive it again and then go play outside with my little one – where the dirt is suppose to be! ha ha!

  4. Stephanie
    September 2nd, 2011 @ 2:51 pm

    FRIENDS reference?

  5. Anonymous
    September 2nd, 2011 @ 3:09 pm

    Oh yeah! 🙂

  6. Nitnelion
    September 2nd, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

    Embrace the mess, girl. It’s a reflection of a life well-lived, with lots of play time, tummy-filling snacks, and an inquisitive little 2-year old mind. You’ll have plenty of time to cultivate a Southern Living-worthy home once J grows up and moves out (at least, that’s what I keep telling myself about my own mess… courtesy of my 3-year old son).

    As an aside – I’m relatively new to your blog and am now a religious reader. I wished we lived closer (I’m currently in AZ), as I’m pretty sure we’d hit it off well as real-life friends.

    Hope you and J have a fantastic long weekend… and that you spend it making more messes.

  7. beachmum
    September 2nd, 2011 @ 11:56 pm

    great post. I really appreciated it today!

  8. Kim
    September 3rd, 2011 @ 1:28 am

    I, too, want the Southern Living look but my 3 kids and our 4 animals constantly conspire against me. Thanks for the reminder to be happy with what I do have. And it doesn’t seem that long ago that I kept a basket of diapers, wipes, and Desitin in a basket on the mantle . . . along with the remote, TV guide, my grown up beverage, and a box of tissues. Hope you have a great long weekend!

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