I am a type A personality. I am fastidiously organized and attentive to the minutest of details. Multitasking comes easily and I enjoy pulling together of all the snapshots to create the big picture. I can create the vehicle with many moving parts.
I see it. I reach it. The threshold.
I hold myself to a high standard because I feel I have the skills to do what I expect, envision and strive for.
Group projects were something I abhorred as a child. I knew my expectations and vision would most likely not be carried out to my specifications. The *image* was in MY head. This meant that my only attempt at successful execution of my image was to do it myself. And I often did. Or at least most of it.
Instead of seeing the skills of others as a beautiful menagerie of sorts, I saw it as a burden of unattainable perfectionism.
Parenting ripped open the veil of control I had lived within for years. It shredded it to pieces. Most of the things I had expected and planned for was tossed aside. The early days of newborn sleep deprivation, hormonal wackiness and nursing learning curves forced me to find footing on a shifting ground. It began to warm my hard edges into something more malleable and alter my mindset.
I was a very capable mother and all my type A skills were put to use.
But that *image* was like a warped reflection of what I’d been envisioning.
I remember our first walk with Pepper. She was six days old and I was healing into a more upright position after a c-section. The weather was turning from summer to fall with a teasing coolness in the expected warmth in the sun. We set out. A dreamy first memory – new parents, first baby, sunny day, brand new stroller purchased just for new baby.
Our expectation was disturbed by the absolutely indisputable unhappiness of our child. She wailed. She screamed. She had an instant aversion to being alone. She absolutely hated being in the stroller.
I was flummoxed.
We listened and adjusted. We made accommodations. I tenderly bent over, pulled her from the empty void of the stroller and wrapped her next to my chest. We weren’t prepared with a wrap or carrier with just my arms to hold her. I gingerly walked for an embarrassingly short distance embracing Pepper.
She was content. Our first walk as a family was in the books.
This was the start of sluffing off the boundaries of control. Walking into the ever changing unknown.
This week is our community’s annual gingerbread display. The girls begged to enter one in this year’s “competition” after visiting and admiring all the creations last year.
So, we did. We pulled together a gingerbread house fit for our 5 month old puppy – Gibson. Using a leftover theme and framework from a Halloween house, we had the perfect makings for “Gibson’s Dog House”. There were graveyard bones, graham cracker dog biscuits biscuits and an arched doorway sized for a pooch. We raided the bulk food section picking out small portions of a variety of sweet treats. I whipped up supremely sturdy bright white Royal icing. The decorations were sorted into muffin tins and icing filled easy to use (read: relatively not messy) ziploc bags. I secured the house to its regulation size base and stepped aside.
I let them go.
A flurry of creativity was unleashed. Fingers were licked. Pretend play happened alongside imaginative expression. The dog to whom the house is gifted mopped up sprinkles, coconut and other delights from the floor.
The house looks nothing like a dog house. Nothing.
Not a single bone was used.
The door was covered by a zombie like creature, formerly a gingerbread ghost, decked out in peppermint bits and chocolate chip eyes numbering 3-1/2.
The words “Gibson’s Dog House” are a completely illegible combination of ghoulish frosting and randomly interspersed candies.
This is so clearly not my gingerbread creation.
And, that is okay. More than okay.
It is fabulous. It is what memories are made of. It is what feeds their creative soul.
That, all of that, is more than I could have ever hoped to gain in controlling the goal of perfectionism.
Here’s to “Gibson’s Dog House” – the creative chaos of parenthood and all its unexpected opportunities.