Friday, June 28, 2013

The Picture of Perfect

We were walking back from a loop around Gleason Park- The Dude all strapped in to his pink stroller and Cozy prancing ahead attached to her tangled orange leash- when she said it. I have no idea who she was, though she looked to be in her 50s or so.

Certainly she lives in the neighborhood, since she was riding her bike, but I haven't seen her before. She could have had no earthly idea that I wasn't in the best of moods. Tired from a long day at work, and still wearing my scrubs. Thinking how we're stuck with this big moody dog who randomly poops on the floor, barks insanely at people she doesn't know, and sheds everywhere, and we have no room for her. Thinking how my littlest son is a lunatic who never sleeps and has a psychotic break with reality every time you tell him no. How my oldest son has selective hearing, and frequently uses baby talk. Feeling overwhelmed, and a little defeated.

"The picture of perfect."
She said to us with a smile. Obviously enraptured by the slobber dripping off of Cozy's long pink tongue, the Dude's quickly drooping eyelids, and my dry, tired sinus infection cough. "Thanks" I said, because what else could you say? And then she was gone. Leaving me to finish the slow walk home, and contemplate a new definition for the word: "perfect".

This week, amidst both The Dude and I being placed on antibiotics, Cozy vomiting all over what remained of our carpet, having only $17 left in our checking account 2 days before payday, and balancing 2 complicated work schedules with childcare, there were so many moments of perfection.

Resting for a few minutes upstairs on Monday when I didn't feel well, and listening to The Dude and JT downstairs: "I want Mama, Daddy." "Mama's resting, you stay down here." "But I LIKE Mama!" And then hearing him huff up the stairs in victory: "I'm going to GET Mama, cuz I LIKE Mama."

That walk around the park. One of the few times I enjoy having a dog- The Dude holding her leash and alternately scolding her for sniffing, and screaming that his "eyes are falling down."

Aquaman's prayer request every night that Aunt J and Grandma will come home safely from Indiana.

Watching endless episodes of Monster Jam, trying to be patient as Aquaman describes each truck's ride in detail, punctuated and dragged out by a thousand "ums". Marveling at how many new and interesting things I have learned, and never would have had I not been the mother of two very interesting little boys.

Watching the boys pull out in Noni and Papa's car 2 mornings this week: Aquaman clutching his cup of Carnation Instant Breakfast, and The Dude munching on his apples, screaming: "Bye! I love you!" out the windows, so excited about the possibilities of a new day.

Cuddling up on the couch with a hot cup of tea with my best friend to watch Lost on Netflix.
Reaching out to touch him in the middle of the night, just to remind myself that he is still real, that this is still real, and not all just some fantastic dream: and feeling him reach back for me.

Working together at a frenzied pace.

 Drifting off to sleep together.

I know that these years having small children will be some of the most busy and exhausting years of our lives.

I also know that in just about 20 years or so, I am going to be that lady, riding by on her bike, seeing only perfect.

That's why I can't stop taking pictures, and memorizing phrases, and trying desperately to slow it all down. It's why sometimes, in the middle of some of the many combined-force fits that happen in my house, this overwhelming, bubbling up urge to laugh comes to the surface.

And it's why I almost always let it take over.

The small moments matter. They matter deeply and seriously and beautifully. But not always in the ways that we think they do.

It's not perfect. It is so, so far from perfect.

But it is real.

And maybe that's what she really meant, anyway.

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