The Problem with “Perfect”

The Problem with “Perfect”
June 16, 2014 Kate Rudy

By: Dawn Thompson 

Perfect Mother's Day GiftOn Mother’s Day, my daughter Brittany informed me that she had the “BEST Mother’s Day Gift EVER” and boy was she right :)  My pretty little princess (age 25) came around the corner of our new house with this BIG ole whopping sign with different slats that read, “Game Time, Pool, Napping, Apples, Farm and Family Time.” While she knew I would absolutely love it, she also knew that the nails she used to make it where just a tad too short; still, she brought it around the corner and dug a hole with such grace and confidence, she knew it was made just right.

At first, one of the slats fell off.  As we hammered it back in, another popped off and so on. After a few laughs and some steady hammering, we got the sign to stand, “perfectly.” We were given advice about how to use longer nails or screws and Brittany said she thought it might crack the wood and that’s why she didn’t use bigger ones. It was standing just fine, so we left it.

About three weeks later, I was doing work in the yard and disturbed the sign and the “Pool” slat fell off.  My husband said he had long screws in the truck. I though GREAT, We have been meaning to “fix it.” As he screwed in the sign, I noticed the wood started to crack.  I also didn’t like the way the black screw stood out over the “o” in Pool and most importantly, I really disliked trying to change something I loved just the way it was.  I asked him to stop trying to “fix” it because it wasn’t broken. I also asked him to help me tack the other three slats that fell off while we were working on the pool one.  After a few laughs, some teamwork hammering and fancy footwork, we got them all back on in original condition.  While we were working on it, I noticed all the little imperfections that were perfectly placed on each sign. All hand painted and purposeful scratch marks and antiquing that Brittany had painstakingly created.  I was in awe at the construction and creativeness that went into her work and could almost imagine her doing every bit of it. The gift really came to life and I wouldn’t have noticed it all unless I was interacting with it like that. It was the Best Mother’s Day Gift Ever.

Today, it stands just right in the back yard.  We live near a farm and people driving by often slow down to read it. It is sound and stable as long as you don’t mess with it, and it reminds me of a lot of things in my life.

All too often, we try to “fix” things that aren’t broken. With our son Dylan (who has neurofibromatosis), we used to try to fix some of his problems like his eyesight.  After conservative treatment and then multiple surgeries, each eye did get a little better  – but not like we planned.  We couldn’t save his right eye vision and often wonder if he was better off in his original condition. We sometimes feel guilty about trying to help him live up to a standard of what’s good, right or expected.  Now we realize that Dylan sees what he sees and hears what he hears; to him, he sees and hears perfectly.  Not only can he use these gifts for himself, but he often helps others “see” things more clearly and “listen” more deeply than they can with two working eyes and ears.

I am grateful to my daughter for reminding me again what matters most: be creative, be unique be beautiful in spirit! That some things are better off when we don’t mess with them and, most importantly, that imperfections are sometimes what makes things “prefect.”

Have a safe and happy summer! :)

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