Ring the bells that still can ringAJ was getting ready for school the other day and, per usual, he insisted on doing every single thing himself. He took off his PJs and left them in a tiny crumpled pile right where he was standing, creating an obstacle for him to trip over about seven times while struggling to maintain balance for his inside-out undie adornment. He then slipped his shorts up over his knees quickly, with a kind of devil-may-care bravado, which ultimately resulted in a waistband that was both folded over and twisted so that its middle-front was actually now situated somewhere over his left hip. His polo shirt he then threw over his head and left unbuttoned, collar-up (reminding me of my high school days) and he had put his flips on the wrong feet. Lastly, with a consternated look, he very carefully and methodically raked his fingers through his hair, smiled up at me, and proclaimed, "Perfect!"
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in.
~ Leonard Cohen
All the while, I sat entranced, as this dressing room spectacle immediately became a microcosm in my mind for, quite simply, how we roll these days: We're fine with imperfection. We, in fact, embrace the imperfect and have made it our new perfect. Because I honestly think there is no other option for us. And it's wonderful!
Our plans are never perfectly put into motion the way they were originally intended. On Saturday morning, a friend of mine reminded me of the parade downtown. It was 9.37am, the parade started at 10, it takes a half-hour to drive down to Old Naples, the kids were in their jammies, Ang was out getting Starbucks, and I desperately needed a shower. So, I responded with what any reasonable person would say: "See you there!" I quickly picked out random outfits for the kids and one for myself, we threw a wagon and some costumes in the way-way back of the car (Does anyone else call it that?), took our Starbucks to go, and we were off.
While strolling through a kickass farmer's market off 3rd Street "before the parade gets here," we had a sneaking suspicion we just may have been off-base with our parade route info. Nothing too major clueing us in, unless you considered 3rd Street wasn't closed off, there were no parade goers in sight, no street signs, no one talking about the parade, and generally, business-as-usual, save for the stray woman clutching an eggplant and a couple juggling half a dozen free trade baskets from Uganda. So we decided to hoof it to 5th Ave., the main street in Old Naples, which is not a short walk. It was about 87 degrees, I was hauling a wagon with a very sweaty (and very heavy) Woody and Belle, and I was wearing Dr. Scholl's.
Long story short, we finally figured out the parade was not on 3rd Street, nor on 5th Ave., but was, rather, ending at 3rd Avenue. Read: Nowhere near our original parking spot. While walking (or, while limping and cursing that damn podiatrist who designed my circa-'70s wooden so-called "exercise sandals"), we came across our first glimmer of the parade: a random glittery truck that was blaring loud music and carrying two cheerleaders and a gymnast, I think. It had veered off the parade route and was headed down the side street we were on. Lila held onto the sides of the wagon, grinning ear-to-ear, and exclaimed: "Oooh, that was fun! I love the parade!" Sometimes I can't even deal with our little positive thinker. That was all she needed to constitute a parade in her mind? Unreal. I giggled about that as I excused myself to scour the aisles of the nearby CVS for Band-Aids and some cheap flip-flops to end my misery.
(By the way, in taking mental inventory of my closet, I've come to the realization that several of my clothing items were bought under similar instances of duress: I've got a cheap raincoat I bought years ago while running in the rain to a biz meeting in Seattle - You'd think I would have thought of packing rain gear for a trip to Seattle, but no; there's a fleece I purchased at a pub in St. Charles, MO, due to their odd employment of extreme A/C - 'Spose I could have left said freezing establishment instead but, well, it was a really great pub; and some hotel sweats I bought on a wedding weekend that I'd forgotten to pack PJs. And now I can add my Swamp Buggy Parade/Dr. Scholl's torture provoked/CVS flip-flops. They are electric blue with purple flowers. Sweet.)
And talking about clothing items, we're not perfect fashion mavens over here. Though Ang always manages to look quite polished and handsome for his biz meetings, there is always, without fail, something awry with the rest of our daily getups. Whether it's Lila's pink, sparkly Minnie Mouse shoes nearly approaching Dr. Scholl's torture level proportions and forcing her to wear her Chuckie T's for trick-or-treating, AJ's independence-driven ensembles, or the fact that there is always a rip, stain, wrinkle, or size issue with every single shirt I ever wear, these are all things I must embrace or I would, quite simply, go nuts. I just can't care anymore about looking 100% presentable. I'll take 65%. (That's passing, right?) It's not about me being a granola and caring more about the planet and world peace than looking good. Mmmm, nope... It's not that. It's just that it's a scientific impossibility for us to look perfectly polished. Ever. And I'm cool wit dat, yo. (Again, because I have to be.)
At the end of the day, I like sitting back and reflecting on how AJ is gaining confidence through his independence and how Lila is so damn easy to please. And if I'm looking back on a great, fun day while affixing Scooby-Doo bandages to both of my feet, well then it was all worth it. All of the crazy imperfections ended up making the day nothing less than perfect.
h a v e a p e r f e c t l y i m p e r f e c t m o n d a y !