I Want Perfect Children

I want perfect children.

Parents always say, oh, I don’t expect my children to be perfect. I just want them to be….whatever. Whatever. I actually want mine to be perfect.

And, I don’t even like perfect people. They’re boring. Dull. I mean who writes books about perfect people? Nobody. It’s the flaws that make people interesting. It’s the flaws that make my children interesting. They aren’t nearly as cool, fun, quirky people without their less-than-perfect-traits. We have a family language developed around the imperfections of the four of us. Our private family jokes, our most cherished memories, our we-finish-each-other-sentences-moments come not from the times of perfect accomplishments, but from the almost-there efforts. Who doesn’t love the wrong notes played on the cello in the middle of the 5th grade symphony? It is the sum of the less-thans that form the perfection of my children. It is those not-quites that create the unique individuals I call my children (adult children now). It is their oddities that I love most.

So why am I screaming for perfect children?

Because I want some sleep. (Let me add that I write this at 4:07 a.m. Take your best guess on why.)

Because if they’re perfect, then I never have to worry about them, right?

Because it is my heart’s desire for them to be safe. To be happy. To be secure. To be okay, and its easy to get all those things mixed with up the word perfect.

Because here’s the dilemma:  I am no longer in charge of them.

Maybe, write that sentence again: I AM NO LONGER IN CHARGE OF THEM.

When they were 10 and 5 making not-the-best-choice held its consequences, but not life-changing, or possibly, deadly ones. Now at 24 and 20, a misstep can have a lifetime of man-I-screwed-that-up attached to it. Having a of few of my own, man-I-screwed-that-up moments, (that never really go away) I dread the thought of it for them. Mom doesn’t show up to right the wrongs anymore, because little boys only need a Batman band-aid and a kiss on the head, and off they go. Big boys need courage, perseverance  foresight, wisdom, the ability to stand against their peers when needed, the faith to stand where others will not sometimes. Big boys have wives and children of their own. (The oldest has a 2 year old, Miss Priss, and an almost 2 week old, SJ, and they are perfect. Thank God.) They are the providers and guiders now. They live in big people world now, with yes, big rewards, but, sadly, big consequences, too. My ex says he wishes kids matured in dog-years. I wish I did too.

My kids say, “Mom, you worry too much.” (Oh, I do not. Isn’t every mother up at 4:27 a.m. writing a blog about her kids?) They say, “You did your job, Now trust us to do ours.”

Okay, so yeah. It is their turn now. It is their time to see how they fare away from home where Mom and Dad kept a vigilant watch. And, I get that. I just don’t feel that. It is in my head as exactly what parents are supposed to do when their kids become adults, but it hasn’t reached my heart yet. I am still keeping that vigilant watch, and they are long gone. Hence, the kid-sleep-insomnia.

While other parents said good-bye, and rolled over for a well-deserved nap, or got dressed for a night on the town, I am only beginning to understand. They’re gone. And, now it is their turn to shine, and yes, make their mistakes. 

So, what’s the slightly obsessed mother to do? Pray.

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord, my grown children to keep.(My grown children who aren’t perfect, but come pretty darn close. )


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