We Are(n’t) the Perfect Family
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, professional pictures, blog posts – to the social media world, and maybe to you, my family may look perfect.
I get encouraging, genuine, loving comments day to day about how beautiful Edison is, or our family is, etc. And it means so much to me. It is so incredibly kind and lifts my spirits and blesses me daily.
But something I was told the other day has me thinking and thinking..
“Your family is picture perfect.” – the sweetest girl commented to me.
And her intent was pure, a heartfelt compliment. But I just can’t put that phrase down, I keep picking it back up and chewing on it. Why?
Let me tell you this… maybe we can take a great photo, but we are far from perfect.
It’s so easy in this social media world to create a life on social media that doesn’t represent reality. I don’t think anyone ever sets out to do that, (what shall I do today? Oh I know, I want to fabricate a fake life on instagram!) but it’s easy. It’s always easy to tell the beautiful moments… to share the fun afternoon picnic you had, but fail to share the fire ants that crawled onto your legs, the sun beating down so hot you thought you were going to melt and your frizzy-no-products-can-tame-this, messy hair. (Hallelujah for the messy bun, am I right?)
I want you to know that we aren’t perfect.
I want you to know we are oh so flawed, we make BIG mistakes, we argue (loudly), say things we don’t mean and ask for forgiveness on a daily (okay, hourly) basis.
I want you to know that I get this twitch in my right eye when Eric asks me where the scissors are for the thousandth time. I mean come on, they’re in the junk drawer like they’ve been for the past 6 years.
Oh yeah, we have a junk drawer.
I want you to know that I spend far too much time on social media. To the point where when I don’t post for a few days, I get texts and emails asking if I’m okay. (Yikes, here’s your sign Bethany).
I want you to know just how frustrated Eric gets (yes, I promise he does indeed get upset sometimes.. 😉 when I pour out his old-to-me, still-good-to-him coffee. Like I have approximately every day of our marriage and yet, I continue to do it.
I need you to know that we aren’t perfect.
I have those days when I feel like I’m going to go crazy if I don’t get away from Edison for an hour. Especially during this yelling-for-fun phase we’re in. When he cries because: A. he must be held and B. I must stand up while he’s being held. I mean come on kid, you weigh like 50 lbs!
I want you to know we sometimes play the “if you’ll change that diaper, i’ll do ______” game.
I use parentheses waaaay too much. It’s like an addiction. (see?)
We are pros at those “nice nights out” where Edison has two consecutive blowouts in the middle of a nice restaurant in town, leaving me to wash his onesie in the sink in the bathroom, getting awful glares from strangers.
Eric forgets to set the alarm clock and we oversleep and miss church. Then we promptly feel guilty for the rest of the day…
I want you to know that I buy processed food – and love how easy and simple it is!
I want you to know that I leave Edison’s cloth diapers in the pail for way to long when I feel lazy and I don’t want to wash, prep and put them away. And they stink y’all…bad. Like, put on a face mask when you change the pail, bad.
I want you to know that I take approximately 27 pictures before finding the ONE to cut, crop and filter to put on social media.
When unexpected company comes over, EVERYTHING goes in the washer and dryer – like yes, even the tape-measure and that old coffee cup and a random pair of boxers laying in the floor.
I need you to know that we aren’t perfect.
But gosh, isn’t it easy? Showing the beautiful moments? It’s so natural for me (and you), to tell the insanely marvelous moments in our life. I feel like those moments far outweigh the other.
I love living this imperfect life.
Because a tidy house, a well-kept braid and a spotless t-shirt don’t make memories that last.
What lasts is the mess.
What lasts are the laughing fits you and your husband have over the ridiculous moments of parenthood – like when your son pees on your wife’s face as she’s sleeping and you’re changing his diaper at 2 am. On the bed. Next to her.
What lasts are when you and your friends sit in a filthy mess of junk food after a 13 hour marathon of Lord of the Rings.
What lasts are the memories of when your brother and father picked you up off the floor after your first heartbreak.
What lasts are when your mom lets you use spray glitter to cover the walls of your tie-die bedroom when you were 12.. (that was so awesome.)
What lasts is spraying your wife with the faucet-sprayer in the middle of the kitchen – just because you know it will make her laugh.
So I choose what lasts.
I choose the mess.
I choose the imperfection.
I choose a life that screams “I love you fiercely” each day to those around me.
A life that is lived in community with other flawed, imperfect people.
Life is messy. Life is imperfect. Life is beautiful in all its many ways.
So let’s just live today, whatever beauty or mess it may bring and love it for what it is.
And next time you see that “perfect” picture – know there’s plenty of outtakes to go with it.