29 Dec Don’t Wait for Perfect When Better is Right Now
Gavin and I recently started watching Parenthood on Netflix. We’re only a few episodes into the first season, but it’s safe to say we’re officially hooked. The Bravermans (four siblings and their families) all live in the same town and share each other’s ups and downs. They’re far from perfect, but there’s one thing about the family that’s so endearing, so compelling, and so sweet that I just couldn’t help but write about it here.
If you have at least one friend, shop in a grocery store, work out in a gym, or have kids, you’ve probably had that icky feeling that you don’t measure up. There’s somebody out there with perfect hair and well behaved children who eats more healthy and has less body fat than you do. They’ve probably got a clean house and bookshelves full of perfectly designed scrapbooks, too.
We’ve all felt that way.
I know I’ll never be that girl, but for years and years I wanted to be that girl. I wanted to be the girl that had it all together. And worse, I wanted everyone to know I had it all together.
Talk about setting yourself up for disappointment.
Watching Parenthood with my husband reminds me that we’re not alone. Our kids do stupid stuff, and we do too. Everybody is trying to figure it out–not so that things will be perfect, but so that things will be better.
When my kids were little, they used to play pretend. Several years ago I noticed the stories they created with their toys usually included an element of conflict or pain. My girls used to fashion casts for their dolls out of wet toilet paper. And when my boys were little, their favorite thing to say to me was, “Hey Mom, watch us beat each other up.” (I’m not kidding.)
They still fight, plus we’ve added talking back and eye rolls to the mix, but I’ve also seen my kids be endlessly creative. They can build obstacle courses out of common household objects and make up games with hundreds of rules no one but they understand. They argue and they fight and of course they still beat each other up– but they also make up. As tempted as I am to facilitate a “perfect” resolution, I don’t.
Something magical is unfolding.
Watching them, I began to wonder, What if our imperfections are the very thing that bind us together? What if the things that make us feel different or less than are the things that draw people to us? What if our stories are supposed to be messy, and what if “happily ever after” means something different than what we thought it did?
A perfect life would be a boring life. In fact, if Parenthood was really the story of a perfect family raising perfect kids, I doubt I’d even want to watch it. The Bravermans and the Adams might look different on the outside, but inside our hopes and dreams are the same.
I don’t break up every fight between my kids, and I don’t think my girls are going to grow up to be goth princesses because their dolls spend so much time in the “hospital.” This kind of play has made them better at solving problems and as a bonus more compassionate towards their friends. As they grow, they are beginning to understand that their unique traits and abilities play a role in shaping who they are becoming. They are learning that opportunities to make the world better are often disguised as challenges curated to take them out of the game for good.
Did you know my kids came up with the idea to create a toy that represents the real issues kids are experiencing in the world today? All of us experience hard things, things that embarrass us and wound us, things that make our hearts sick and our bodies even sicker. And even though we can’t make those things go away forever, there’s something about being together that just makes things better. There’s something about EACH OTHER that begets compassion.
The idea for Forever We was born!
Friendship is messy and compassion is hard, but friendship plus compassion is better than all the hurt in the world. It’s the lesson we learned from watching Parenthood and the lesson we learned from allowing our own family to live outside the margins of perfection.
In honor of our stories, Jewel makes her debut.
All of us have the capacity to do something to make the world a better place to live. We’d love for you to join us. Who do you know that would like a doll that says, “You are my friend, and I care about you?” Who do you know that would like to help families with children facing illness?
To purchase a doll for someone you love, please visit our shop.
Better is possible, and it begins with you and me.
Will you help us make someone feel loved? Will you help make it better?
Proceeds benefit CURE Childhood Cancer, a cause that matters to us.