Giving Perfection Its Dues

On Sunday Carl gave gentle little Thea Harper a blessing in our church.  He stood at the front of the chapel and offered simple words that he'd stayed up all night and most of the week thinking on.  I recorded the prayer because my family couldn't be there and I wanted to transcribe it for them, and also because I want Thea to have the lines all her life.  In the recording, which surprisingly accounted for every sound in the large, children-ed room, you can hear babies crying into the shoulders of their parents, a child falls off a pew, Remy and his cousin whisper loudly about pony stickers on their face, the chortley cough of old people who have been sitting in the same seats on Sunday for decades.  I recognized my own sniffle, the sound of my hand moving to wipe my eyes throughout the whole blessing, but above it all, Carl's voice.

We are wont to be quick in saying that we are not perfect, that we are nowhere near perfect, that we are so far from it that we have no idea what perfect even looks like in ourselves, but I think we are all more accustomed to our own perfection that we give ourselves credit for.  I am here to say that there are moments, be they fleeting, that I am perfect. Like delicious life portraits hanging on a wall amidst the chaos of everything else I think matters so much, I can sometimes stop and see that for at least ten minutes, I was a perfect mother, or friend, or wife.  Or at least perfect in my wanting to be that way.

Tonight as I was running, I kept searching around my head to think of something new or profound or really smart, but all that came with each beat of my feet was, 'my babies, my babies, my babies.'  I wanted to get home to them, even though sometimes all I want to do is get out of the house away from them.  For a few minutes I was literally running home to them, and it felt good to love them perfectly, even from out there in the dark, past the big Hoover tower, around the fountain, over the crosswalks and through the parking lot to our front door.  When I came in, Remy called for me and I rubbed his cherub cheeks while he fell asleep.  Perhaps if I were abiding by any of the advice I've heard or read, I would have let him struggle a little and fall asleep on his own, but that's the thing about perfect moments; they don't create perfect people, just maybe happier ones.

One of my favorite lines in the Thea's blessing was that she would 'find her voice and advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves.' I've been thinking so much about how to teach a little girl about finding her voice in this world, and not just finding it, but using it, speaking with it, letting it rise and fall and speak again until it is heard.  I want her to know that the voice she finds will not be perfect for a long time, it will be clumsy, wrong sometimes, in need of trimming and shaping and re-saying a thousand times over, but I also want her to know that if she works at it hard enough, there will be times when that voice does have the perfect thing to say, at just the right moments.  I want her to know that her voice will turn into actions, and those actions will be the stories that shape the world around her.



Amy Lee Scott said...

Ash Mae, dearest, this is just plain perfect. And what a powerful line to remember as Thea's mother. I have no doubt that you and Carl will do everything in your power to raise a smart, compassionate, advocate in dear Thea.

Krisanne said...

I said this before, but that line in her blessing is one of the most powerful and inspiring I've ever heard given to a little girl. Hurray for those perfect moments and hurray for the voices of strong and wise girls and women.

Angela Higbee said...

Wow, Ash. Thank you for inspiring me today. I'm short on words, cause that was simply amazing. Thanks for the reminder.

ani said...

Oh, what beautiful words. Thank you for sharing this. I am about to head off to my second day of clinicals, and I needed the added vision that this post gave me. Thank you! Love you guys!

شركة المثالية لتنظيف said...

لذلك الحل المثالي يكمن في الاتصال بشركة مكافحة حشرات بالرياض لتقوم بمهمتها على أكمل وجه، و تخلصك نهائيا من الحشرات وتوابعها ولفترات طويلة. إن مجال مكافحة
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالرياض نقدم ابادة شاملة لكل انواع الحشرات صراصير فئران بعوض جحور الحشرات فنيا كثيرا و تطور مستوى خدماتها في الآونة الأخيرة إلى الحد الذي جعلها جديرة بثقة العملاء و بأن تكون
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالجبيل
شركة تسليك مجارى بالجبيل