Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Imperfect Human Being

I left work at 4:15 to dash about and pick up the girls in Denver, and pulled up to the house around 5:45.  Eric had beat us home, and was there waiting to take Nolie out of my arms and make Addie a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (she basically just licks the peanut butter and jelly off of the bread, not daring to take a bit of the wheat-y stuff itself).  As I was unloading the thousand and one bags, he said, "Um, hon?  I know it's crazy for you in the mornings, but I got home and the heat was on and the door was unlocked."

I wanted to scream. 

Let me clarify.  This is not a post about how my husband is thoughtless or mean, because he's neither.  In fact, quite the opposite.  He's thoughtful and quite wonderful, though maybe his timing stinks a little.

No, I wanted to scream because it is crazy for me in the mornings, getting up and getting dressed and getting the kids dressed and getting everybody out the door and to daycare and me to work, all by 9.  In fact, just thinking about it makes me want to cry.  I wanted to scream because, clearly, things are coming apart a little at the seams, and I'm forgetting little things like locking our doors against the vicious thieves of the world who would like to enter our house and steal our stuff, or to pack formula in the diaper bag so that Nolie doesn't starve at Miss Debbie's, or to turn the heat down, which is just like handing a stack of benjamins to the guy at the power company.  I'm making a dozen tiny little mistakes today, which just chafe, reminding me I'm not the supermom or super-whatever that I like to imagine myself to be.  That I am, in fact, quite human and imperfect. 

In fact, my therapist once gave me that mantra:  "I am an imperfect human being.  I am an imperfect human being."  And it was hard for me to say!  Not because I think I am perfect, or at least not all the time.  I live at either extreme, see?  Sometimes I imagine myself to be perfect.  Look at me, look how together I'm keeping things, look how in control I am.  And other times I am wholly, ridiculously self-critical.  Look at me, look at what a mess I make of everything, look at what a toilet bowl my life is. 

Consciously, I am taken by neither extreme.  I know that my life is full of goodness and imperfections, and that the sweetness of it all lies in those in-between places.  No, all of this happens under the dark cover of my internal machinations, my subconscious, where it takes on gargantuan proportions, of course.

Anyway.  I stewed for an hour or so after Eric's comment, the child-me wanting to yell at him, be angry at him for making me feel this way.  Finally I sorted things out, though, and told him I needed to feel a little more appreciated, that I wanted him not just to notice the unlocked door or the steaminess of the house, but also the myriad other tiny little things I do all day to make our lives happen.  He took that in, and didn't respond defensively or meanly (as I might have).  Then, later, when I wanted to make pots de creme for a meeting I'm having today, he ran to the store and got the stuff for the recipe for me.  And that made all the difference in the world.



  1. Perfection like eternal joy provides none of the contrast to make life worth living.

  2. And i don't know anyone who does it better than you.
    Plus, I don't have ANY kids, and have twice left my KEYS in the door. OVERNIGHT.

    How perfect is that?

  3. I may 'Saint' you both and put you on my dashboard (right next to the hula girl)- you ROCK and Eric ROCKS- you both make up the bedrock. So I'm happy that at the end of the day you can appreciate the yin/yang of you both. And BTW you little YOU ARE PERFECT AND BALANCED AND ABUNDANT. Now bring yourself back to breath and get the coffee off of the roof. xo

  4. "Wisdom is like a mass of fire--it cannot be entered from any side. Wisdom is like a clear cool pool--it can be entered from any side."


    Jen, I cherish your wisdom. -Julie

  5. Don't feel too bad, I often lock myself completely out of my house in the morning and have to break into my basement apartment commando style - and I dont have any kids or daycares or anything. Haha. Is dad waxing philosophical?