Have you ever met someone who seems to be good at everything they do? Pediatrician by day, chef in the evening, pro tennis player on the weekends and super model at every charity event you see her at. Yeah, that bitch! And you can’t even call her a bitch because she isn’t. She is a good friend, the Mom you call when your kid needs a place to hang out after school for a few hours and the neighbor who calls to tell you how sorry she is when she hears your cat died. I am not her, not even close. I come home from work most days and look in the refrigerator with confusion about how my husband can build an actual meal out of the contents, I fall down chasing my daughter playing a game of tag and I arrived an hour late to the last charity event I attended because I had spent the prior two hours rummaging through my closet reminding myself why it’s a good idea to try on dresses before I buy them.
Some days I am acutely aware of all of these shortcomings. Days like last saturday when I was attempting to make breakfast while my husband was at the grocery store. My daughter had requested a purple egg. I thought no problem, we have eggs, we have food coloring, this is easy. I even told her she could help. We went into the kitchen and prepared to make our masterpiece. I grabbed the eggs while she pulled her stool over to the counter. I cracked the egg into a bowl and handed her the whisk. She responded with a look of confusion and said “no Mama, I want a dipping egg. Make the white part purple but leave the yellow part yellow”. Oh no! But then I remembered I can do hard things. I can do lots and lots of hard things. But first I needed coffee. I got my cup of coffee started and returned to the counter with another egg. As I walked by the coffee maker I noticed it was low on water so I grabbed a Guinness pint glass (otherwise known as an everyday water glass) out of the cabinet and shoved it under the freezer water dispenser to fill while I cracked my egg into the pan. I cracked my egg without breaking the yoke (go me!) and dropped a few drops of food coloring into the egg white. As it sizzled away I took a fork and stirred the color gently through the egg white. But it didn’t really mix. Egg whites and food coloring are very similar to oil and water, you can stir and stir and stir, but they run right back to their own side of the pan. But I persisted.
“Mommy, don’t forget my toast”. I heard this at the same time I heard water splashing and as I turned to the refrigerator, I saw the source of the splash, the overflowing pint glass and water pouring onto the floor. And then I heard the sound of disappointment – “You ruined my Power Puff girls picture!” Oh no, no, no! I grabbed the glass to stop the water flow and put it in the sink, set the dripping wet picture on the counter and threw a dish towel on the floor to start sopping up the puddle. As I squatted down to wipe the floor a wave of self-pity washed over me and I almost started to cry. I can’t even make my kid breakfast. That was the little perfectionist voice in my head telling me how I suck at life. But then I remembered, I can do our taxes, and figure out how to squeeze three awesome vacations into our busy schedules and all kinds of other things. I remembered that I can do lots of hard things and I don’t suck.
I pulled myself off the floor, cleaned up the water and got the rest of breakfast cooked. I even managed to salvage my daughter’s Power Puff masterpiece in case the Louvre ever comes looking for it. It’s a little wrinkled, but hey, so am I. When I put that ugly purple egg on the table in front of my child and saw the smile on her face I realized that it didn’t matter that it didn’t turn out the way I had envisioned it. It wasn’t even close, but she thought it was the greatest thing in the world. Three days later she is still talking about the purple egg that Mom made. I don’t need to be perfect. I don’t even really need to be very good, I just need to do my best. I made the best purple egg I could make. It was ugly and cold by the time I had finished her toast and “facon” but she loved it because I made it for her.
I don’t care that the birthday cakes I bake qualify as Pinterest fails and that some days I wear three different shades of black to work. I don’t even care that I can’t catch a five year old in a game of tag. I show up and I do my best and sometimes that’s the hardest thing to do. But that’s okay because I can do lots and lots of hard things.