“To the people who love you, you are beautiful already. This is not because they’re blind to your shortcomings but because they so clearly see your soul. Your shortcomings then dim by comparison. The people who care about you are willing to let you be imperfect and beautiful, too.)” –Victoria Moran, Lit from Within: Tending Your Soul For Lifelong Beauty
One night, when the kids and I drove home from dinner, we parked in the garage and walked inside the dark house. “What’s that noise?” my youngest son asked. Hummm…what noise? My 3 kids and I stood there looking at one another in silence trying to hear what noise he was talking about. Thud….thud…..there it was. Oh my gosh, what is that noise?? We follow it into the entry way and we still hear it. We look up and decide that it’s coming from my bedroom upstairs. My bedroom! Why does it have to be my bedroom?? We all get that terrible feeling. You know the feeling where you have to go and inspect something, and you really dread it? And, why does it always happen when the husband is gone??
I tried to convince my kids to go up and look. Yes, I’m that mom. I totally admit it. I’m not ashamed. But, they weren’t having it. So, we decided the best way to go about it was that we all go and inspect it together. I don’t know when we decided to link arms, but there we were. Our arms linked making our way up the stairs. We were standing in the hallway looking into my room. Shoot! It’s dark! I didn’t have a light on. My daughter is standing in the front of our ridiculous safety chain, and we all nominated her to run in and turn on the light. She made us promise that we wouldn’t leave her, and we promised. She left the security of the group and bravely went in my bedroom to turn on the light.
Click….the lamp turned on. The room is quiet…dangerously quiet. My daughter is standing by the bed, and the boys and I are squished in the doorway. We look. We don’t see anything. What was it? There is nothing here. We relax a little, you know, drop our guard. But, then I see it. It’s there on my pillow!!! A cardinal! A bird!!! The bird and I made eye contact. It was like it was staring into my very soul. You see, birds and I have a past. They love my frizzy curly hair. It calls to them. However, it entraps them! They are unable to escape! I only know this through traumatic experience. The flashbacks of 7th grade came rushing in. The beady black eyes, and the little talons reflected in my memory. Instantly, it begins flying around the room hitting its head on the ceiling and flying into the window. Now, this is the part that I wish I could say that I calmly took control of the situation and made a plan to allow this caged animal to get to safety. But, no, I can’t say that. Here’s what I did do:
I screamed a blood curtailing glass-breaking scream. I covered my hair with my hands, and last, but definitely the worst thing, I steamrolled my boys down and ran past their fallen bodies in the hallway down the stairs and into the kitchen to safety. Yes, it’s true. I saved myself and left the fallen behind. I’m not proud of it, but that’s the story.
Of course we were able to get the bird out of the house. And, my children still tease me about how I reacted. We all laugh about it now. They bring it up at all the best moments…family dinners, friend’s houses, meeting new people. You know, it will live with me forever.
All this to say is, that life is just that….life. It’s funny, scary and yes, unpredictable. We put all this pressure on ourselves to be the perfect little families, with perfect children and perfect parents that always make the right decisions. We hide our fears from each other. We don’t let them see the real us. And the real us is where the good stuff is. That is where the freedom is! Plus, our children really love seeing our authentic selves. It makes them feel like they have this intimate knowledge of their parents…like they really know us…flaws and all.
Well, that’s not the only bizarre thing that I’ve done as a parent, and, I promise, it won’t be the last. And, although we are not perfect, we are real. And, I am truly comfortable being perfectly imperfect.
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness ” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 2 Corinthians 12:9