Happy Valentine’s Day!
For your sake, I won’t go into all the grueling details about how long it took to get this photo or how I’d hoped this photo would actually turn out. Suffice it to say, as much as I’ve learned as a parent thus far, I have more to learn. And I must admit, some of these lessons need to be taught more than once for them to sink in.
I had grand plans for this photo shoot. Maeve would be caught, mid-giggle, as she playfully held the sign up for all to see. I would snap The Perfect Photo and it would become part of some cleverly crafted Valentines she’d share with playmates and loved ones.
A lesson I still must master in this Parenthood Journey? Letting go. Losing expectations of perfection.
That doesn’t come easy for me.
On the day we went to court to finalize Maeve’s adoption, my nervous hands and clumsy fingers ripped a huge whole in her little tights as I negotiated them onto her chunky legs. I freaked. I’d had a beautiful dress for the occasion and the tights had been carefully selected to complete the look for this important day which would be recorded by photo, by video, by memory. I wanted to capture as much of this event as possible so she could look back years from now and feel the energy of the day.
Did I have another pair of tights on standby — another pair in the exact shade I’d selected? Of course not. (There’s a lesson, too.) Did I have to choose another pair from her dresser? Yes. Did her second-choice tights affect the outcome in court that day? Of course not.
During the wardrobe malfunction that morning, my sister (my polar opposite when it comes to rolling with the punches — I more easily roll up in a ball somewhere and worry) said something very memorable. As I clung to the useless tights, panic setting in, disappointment creeping up, she chuckled and said: “Welcome to parenthood, where you can’t control every little thing. Going with the flow is just part of the deal.”
I’ve never been good at going and flowing. In fact, I don’t think that river is even on my map.
But I heard her. And that day, when I would become a parent in the eyes of the court, the state, the law, I did find some humor in my initiation of sorts. She’s right, I can’t control every little thing because there’s someone else in the picture now. And that picture, with Maeve in it, is brighter and better than it had ever been.
So, in the interest of learning the lesson of letting go and relishing results that aren’t in The Plan, I post my less-than-perfect picture of Valentine wishes. And ya know, it’s not so bad. She’s clearly a very happy little girl — and that’s all that really matters.
So, we’re off to school to deliver our little photo valentines and share with her nursery school playmates a big heart-shaped oatmeal and chocolate chip cookie I baked — a cookie I’d better get out of the oven before it gets too brown or loses its shape. (Hey, Less-Than-Perfection is a lesson I’m learning — present tense.)
Happy Valentines Day — may you all find love today in the least perfect of places.