"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Monday, April 25, 2011

Good Enough

A confession, if I may:

I have a sort of ongoing, internal struggle when it comes to perfectionism. In the moment, I'm okay with unpredictability. I'm cool with things not going according to plan. I've built an entire lifestyle (and an entire blog) around appreciating life's detours... which aren't always pretty, and aren't always perfect. There is still beauty to be found, even in the imperfections. I know this. I know this.

So I must be a slow learner. Because I still get hung up on details. I still worry about things turning out the way they're "supposed to." (And really, who can decide how things are supposed to turn out?) I still lay awake at night double-checking everything in mind, especially when it comes to things like holidays. And birthdays. And Tuesdays. Did I do everything I should've done? Should I have done something differently? Would the kids be happy?

It's exhausting and unnecessary.

Yesterday was Easter.
It was not perfect.
But it was wonderful.
And wonderful was good enough.

It all started with the eggs. I really wanted to dye eggs naturally this year. I even found links for dying naturally, and shared them on Facebook (you're welcome). But I didn't use them. I used the very UNnatural kit that's been in the cupboard - from months ago, when our neighbors brought it over when they were moving and cleaning out their kitchen. That's what the kids wanted to use, and we already had it, and we didn't have any extra money to buy the ingredients for natural dying anyway.

So egg dying looked like this this year:

It wasn't what I'd wanted, but it was good enough. The kids were happy, and that makes me happy.

But then there were the baskets! Talk about an internal struggle... over something so completely silly. Spencer and Paxton are old enough that they're not interested in the standard fare of things like bubbles and stickers, but I wanted to think of something that'd be fun for them. I didn't want to spend a bunch of money on cheap little toys that'd end up buried in a toy bin in a couple of days, but I wanted them all to have some cool surprises. I definitely didn't want to fill a basket with hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and other artificial junk, but I didn't want them to miss out on some of their favorites (which they have so infrequently anyway). And I didn't have the budget for the healthier alternatives.

But, but, but. I have friends that manage to do it... manage to make holidays natural and healthy and perfect and wonderful. Manage to have lovely days with pressed kids in their Easter finest heading happily off to church. Why can't I do it? And there's that perfectionism. There's that taking myself too seriously, and stressing myself out with trying to do everything *right.* Wasn't I just berating my sixteen year old self for doing that very thing??

So I took a big, huge breath.

The baskets (which were filled with totally unhealthy chocolate, and a couple small and carefully chosen gifts) were not perfect, but they were good enough. And they made all four kids very happy.

Everyone was bathed and clean, but Tegan didn't want me to even touch her hair. So it wasn't as nice and cascading as I would have liked. She also had a rip in the back of her pretty dress - the only one she wanted to wear - that resisted all our best efforts to repair/hide/cover it.

Her and Everett were both over-tired from getting up too early, and had a hard time sitting through church. That was my daughter you heard saying, "I'm done with this. The singing's too loud," before her dad whisked her away to play outside.

But it was okay. It was all okay. It was in fact more than okay, because after the baskets, after the egg hunts, after church, we all went to my sister's and spent the day hanging out with family... playing, eating, laughing, and remembering - once again - what's important (and what's not)

And when we finally went home, tired, stuffed, and spent, all four kids declared it the "best Easter they've ever had."  And it was.  It wasn't perfect, but it was better than I could have planned, even without vegetable dyed eggs and all-natural chocolate.  Even without rip-free dresses (which she of course ditched once she got to my sister's house anyway)  Even without tangle-free hair.  And I certainly couldn't have planned the excitement that this would bring:

I don't know why I ever worry beforehand. I really don't. Yesterday, like every day, was not perfect. But it was perfectly imperfect. And it was lovely, and it was joy-filled. And that is - and forever will be - good enough for me.


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