Last Sunday was no exception! I found myself in a sweaty and hurried frenzy of nylons, makeup brushes, and bright pink, baby dresses. Where were the goldfish crackers for Sunday school snack? All over the kitchen floor. Where were the baby wipes for the diaper bag? Clogging the toilet. Where were Lilly's church shoes? OUT IN THE YARD!
As I ran from room-to-room and from kid-to kid--half-dressed and exhibiting symptoms comparable to psychosis--I thought about my lack of grace in this "motherhood thing." I have silly illusions of being a pretty ballerina--light on my feet, graceful in my movements, navigating motherhood and poopy diapers and preschool field trips with pointed ease. People, I am here to tell you that in reality, I am a mule. A THREE-LEGGED mule. That's blind.
In the epicenter of the Sunday madness, I decided it would be best to finish getting dressed. (A tired and frazzled mama certainly can't make an appearance at Sunday services without a bra on!) I threw on a charming, pleated blue skirt and....BLAST! It was wrinkled! No time to iron it. I threw on my kelly-green cardigan and...BLAST! IT was wrinkled. I wanted to cry.
I shrugged off thoughts of looking disheveled and chaotic and moved on to dressing Cam. I whipped a red polo shirt over his head and gasped! That shirt had fallen victim to a preschool paint project (aka massacre) and had not survived the wash, even with blessed stain remover. I cursed under my breath and reached for the shirt with the ninja warrior on it instead.
I helped him pull on his khaki cargo pants and gasped again. Unbeknownst to me, he had ripped a ginormous hole in the knee! As I dug through piles and piles of "laundry yet to be folded," I considered retreating to my closet with a doughnut. I can't do this today, I thought. I can't do this. It's too hard.
I probably don't have to tell you that the rest of my morning went the opposite of swimmingly. (What would that be? Not-swimmingly?) Bridget pooped through her dress and Lilly's hair was a snarly "rat's nest." SOMEONE (no one would fess up to it) thought it would be a good idea to eat Doritos for breakfast; a catastrophe that can be summed up in three words: Orange. Powder. Everywhere. We eventually made it to church, albeit late and grumpy and exhausted.
As I sat in a pew, in the middle of a brightly lit chapel, I thought about my morning. My life. My motherhood. I looked at my wrinkled skirt. I looked at my wrinkled cardigan...
I am a wrinkled mama, I thought. I can't seem to smooth the surface of this powerful responsibility I've been given: Mother. Instead, I'm wrinkled. I am running in circles. I am bumpy and potholed, like a neglected country road. I am wrinkled and imperfect.
I looked around the chapel and saw many women sitting in the pews by mine. I saw that they were beautiful and good and brave. Some were wrestling with wiggly, young children. Others had arms draped across teenagers' shoulders. Some were sitting with spouses; some sat alone. I saw them through eyes desperately focused on heaven, and recognized them as my sisters.
And they were all wrinkled.
Not one of us is perfect, my friends. And not one of us is expected to obtain perfection in a lifetime. As Ariana Huffington says, "To become a fearless mother is to give up the idea of doing it perfectly, and to embrace uncertainty and imperfection." Embrace imperfection. Because in imperfection lies compassion and growth. Motivation for change. Empathy. Commonality. Kindness. In imperfection we become more patient and forgiving. We become relatable, human, and real. The more we relate to one another, the more actively we reach out to nurture one another. The more we nurture one another, the stronger our community of women becomes. And when we are strong, we start to see the "wrinkles" in ourselves and the wrinkles in others for what they truly are--
Marks of beauty.
Happy Mother's Day to Wrinkled Mamas Everywhere!