Monday, October 24, 2016

The Price of Perfection: Zapping Memories and Family Time

The whole family came out to support my mom and dad.

At the University of Indianapolis football game, they received an award.

Their younger supporters.

Cooper invited a few buddies to celebrate his 10th birthday at Zip City.

The birthday boy requested Marsh cookie cake.

Then, he zipped over the play area:)

His brothers joined him in zipping across the facility.

Pretty good seats at the University of Indianapolis football game (although I did worry about getting a ball to the face:)).

This came in the mail this week!  I'm going back to Boston in 2017!

As I was fiddling with dishes and dinner today, the Pioneer Woman  played in the background.  She was whipping up a cherry pie and fiddling with the pie crust.  Although her crust appeared magazine-perfect, she expressed her displeasure at the pie's perceived imperfections.  As she inspected the crust, she giggled and announced, "Well, my family doesn't expect perfection."

Anyone who sees my home and life would imagine I follow that mantra.  Dust has set up residence on our blinds (something I discovered today), and a sticky, syrup residue is glued onto placemats.  My shirt has peanut butter smattered on the front, a souvenir from this morning's lunchbox assembly line.  The refrigerator desperately needs to be purged of fuzzy-looking, mystery items.

Sometimes, though, I still seek that (unattainable) perfection.  I strive for it despite knowing that seeking perfection comes at a cost, namely zapping my family of meaningful encounters and spontaneous memories.

Take yesterday.

A pile of dirty dishes set next to my kitchen sink.  Their appearance made my sanity start to wane.  I desperately wanted a clean kitchen counter; I truly felt my happiness was tethered to its cleanliness.

While I started to empty the dishwasher and place glasses into their proper places, Cooper asked if I would play Legos with him.

My first thought was to bark "no."  Couldn't he see that dishes sat on the counter?  Didn't he know that crumbs were on the floor?  Who has time to play at a time like this?

Then I thought about how infrequently my nearly ten year old asked me to play.  I remembered how we had several harsh exchanges that day.  I recalled the moments when all I wanted to do was connect with him in ways that didn't involved request to do homework, chores, or timeouts.

I placed the dishrag on the counter.  With my back turned to the stack of dirty dishes, I walked over to my son and found a seat next to him and a big pile of Legos.

My family doesn't expect perfection.

They don't care if the counters sparkle.

I care.

But, I care for my son more.

That means, I walk away from the dishes and pick up the Legos.

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