Patience, Not Perfection

In our house, the Valentine Season is more about the valentines kids bring to their friends at school than a declaration of romantic love.  Meaning, a few weeks ago we set out to make our school valentines and have yet to finish…

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The part of me that loves coming up with projects to do with my kids finds this situation completely satisfactory.  We get to work on a project together and have hours of entertainment!  The kids will have an end product that they get to share with their peers!  Fun!  The other part of me that is a bit of a perfectionist with said projects is having a harder time with the process.  In my mind’s eye, the valentines we made together were finished weeks ago and were exceptionally cute (read: professional).

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Then came the realization that I had a choice to make.  Would these by my valentines?  Or, (correct answer) would these be my kids’ valentines?  We all love to show the world what we can do (me included, obviously)…  And yes, I do love me a good craft project.  So, we compromised.  The project did involve Shrinky Dink hearts and it did involve some group stamping, but more importantly, it involved letting my kiddo practice writing names over and over again.  I must admit to feeling a teensy bit proud of myself that I did not take the pen away to write all the valentines myself (in my efficient, adult penmanship), but rather I am allowing my five-year-old the time and space to practice his budding handwriting skills night, after night, after night… This may not seem like a big deal.  In fact, it may sound quite insane.  But each of us has things we do well and areas where we are challenged.  Right?  (Insert head nod here.)  Small victories.

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In the end, these valentines will end up in the recycling bin after a day or two, but my son will feel more confident writing his and his brother’s names going forward.  As we encourage our little people to spread their wings and master new skills, it is a good reminder, that although a project may take longer (most likely), will be messier (guaranteed),  and may turn out differently than imagined (quite probably), there is more to be gained from the process than from doing it all ourselves.  I am hopeful that we will be done by Thursday morning… Fingers crossed.  Clearly, handwriting is not the only lesson being learned from this project!

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Perfect Imperfections

There can be beauty in the imperfections…  I might wish that I felt more comfortable with this statement, but I am a selective perfectionist.  This means that in some things I am very relaxed, but in others I can become paralyzed if I cannot get a project to meet my expectations.  Thankfully, my husband and I are well-paired in this arena.  Where I stall out, he moves forward with gusto. Our garden this year is a perfect example of how beauty and joy can come from unexpected imperfections.  This is our second year planting a vegetable patch.  Last year was a bit of a bust.  We were novices with high expectations.  We started the season in a flurry of energy and completely fell off as the summer progressed.  This year, with new baby and a busy life, I entered with moderate expectations.  We planted tentatively and sparingly… still, I stalled out when I couldn’t come up with an aesthetically appealing plan for my vertical peas.  I was ready to throw in the towel.  Thankfully Gus stepped in and made it happen.  He also had big plans for our tomatoes.  I hate the way the tomato planters look.  There, I said it.  They are planted in rubbermaid totes and are pretty ugly – but, as you will see, quite impressive.

 

As it turned out, the garden was a funny and beautiful success ~ an exercise in wabi sabi.  Our peas were fantastic on their imperfect stakes.  They grew like crazy and the kids enjoyed picking them every day for a month.  Then our two small nasturtium plants went gangbusters.  They took over the carrots and scallions and eventually had to be completely pulled.  And now, our beans have gone crazy!  We call them “the leaning tower” due to their robust growth towards the sky.  Jokes have been made about whether we traded a cow for the seeds… and whether Jack will by coming by anytime soon.  Lastly, our tomatoes are the best I have tasted in years.  When planning something in May, it is impossible to know what unexpected beauty and delights will occur in June, July, or August… A good lesson.  Thanks, Honey.

                    

         

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