Sunday, March 10, 2013

Dear Nathan (Perfection)

Dear Nathan,

I have so many lessons I can't wait to teach you. So much I've learned (sometimes the hard way) that I want to pass on.  I am anxious for the opportunity to teach you things I think are so important.  And this is one of them.

Perfection is a fairy tale.  Nothing is perfect and nobody is perfect.  The sooner you learn that, the better you will feel about your life and the people in it.  

I'm not saying the world isn't a beautiful, wonderful place.  It truly is!  There are things to discover and people to know that will awe and inspire you.  You will marvel at sunsets, be fascinated with insects, and love with all your heart.  And all those things are good and wonderful.  But there is nothing on this earth that is perfect.  

Your dad is a wonderful man.  He is funny and smart and gentle and patient.  He is not perfect.  He will make mistakes as he learns how to be a dad.  He will sometimes hurt your feelings by accident.  He will sometimes make you angry because of the boundaries he set or the rules he enforces.  He is not perfect, and it is unfair to expect him to be.

I love you with my entire heart.  There truly is no way to describe that kind of love.  I will always be here for you, no matter what.  I will do anything and everything in my power to make sure you have a happy, healthy childhood and would literally risk my life to save yours.  But I'm not perfect.  I will make mistakes.  I will hurt your feelings and make you angry.  I will become frustrated (and have already) and will probably say things I shouldn't to you sometimes.  I am not perfect, and it is unfair to expect me to be.

You are a sweet, beautiful baby.  In the past 5 months, you have shown us that you are smart, funny, and very social.  You love to laugh and are sometimes very deliberate in your attempts to make us laugh.  You are growing and developing in amazing ways and I can't wait to see who you are going to become.  But you are not perfect.  You will make mistakes as you grow up.  You will upset us and make us angry.  You will do things you shouldn't, and will be reprimanded for them.  You will probably, at some point, get a bad grade in school, or be disciplined there for something you did that was against the rules.  You are not perfect and it is unfair to expect you to be.

All this is not to say you shouldn't try.  You should always do your best in everything you try to do, because that's what good people do.  You should strive to do things as completely and as accurately as possible, and you can even strive for perfection, but you should always keep in mind that it is okay if you do not achieve perfection.  If you follow the rules (and as you get older, the laws) of our society, and if you do your absolute best in everything you attempt, your father and I will be happy, and we will be so proud of you.  If you try your hardest and you fail, we will still be proud, because you tried something that was so difficult for you and you went into it knowing it was a long shot, but you were brave enough to do it anyway.  And sometimes  you will discover that you try something you think is impossible and you WILL achieve it.  We will be proud when that happens too.

I have known so many people who were raised to be "perfect," and it ended up causing some serious problems as they grew into adulthood and realized that they can, in fact, fail.  I want you to always understand that failure is not the end of the world.  If you tried your best and failed, you've learned something.  If you didn't try your best and failed, you need to try harder the next time.  Either way, we are always here to love and support you.

But please, don't expect perfection - from us or from yourself.  You will be disappointed.  People are not perfect.  It's one of the wonderful things about us, really.  All our flaws make us who we are, and those beautiful, wonderful imperfections are what we end up truly loving about each other.  And that is the most important lesson I could teach you - to embrace your imperfections and understand that, no matter what, we will love you.

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