Imperfect Perfection

This weekend we celebrated my eldest son's 16th birthday with a big clambake at our house.  We had about 45 people over for the event including about 15 teenage girls and boys.  One thing I noticed was how comfortable people must feel when they come to our house.  My one girlfriend brought her teenage daughter and she bought 2 of her friends.  My other girlfriend brought her teenage daughter and she brought her boyfriend.  My sister brought her husband and another couple I didn't know was coming.  In the end, it made me feel good that people felt comfortable enough to bring others to my house without worrying that I would be upset.

We had PLENTY of food of course as any good Italian home would.  In fact, we ended up sending more food home with others then we did consuming that night.  It was great to see so much of my family and so many of my friends all together.  It was a great time.  One thing that didn't go so well was the timing of the clams.  The guy who helped us set up our steamer told us that the clams only take about 20 minutes to open, but we must not have had the heat up high enough or something because it took 2 hours!  Everyone ate earlier and then when the clams were done they wolfed those down.  (I heard they were delicious!)  It was a great party, but it wasn't perfect.  It sort of made me wonder if the party would have been better if it were perfect?

While we waited for the clams to cook, some us sat outside by the fire while others were inside watching the Ohio State game, and the teens were in the basement doing whatever it is that teenagers do.  We all had a chance to talk and socialize and be together.  I think if the clams were done on time the people would have ate them and then left pretty quickly like they always do, so screwing up the timing ended up being the best thing in the long run.  People stayed until very late and it looked like everyone had a great time.

This experience has reminded me that people can make the mistake of trying to be too perfect.  I know a lot of people with kids, and I have to say, I think it is so sad to see parents who try to force their kids to be/look perfect for the sake of what others think.  What is the point of that?  In a way, I think some parents think that if other parents look at their kids as perfect then maybe adults will look at them as perfect.  In doing so, I think kids miss out on being kids.  Everyone needs to have a little 5 year old fun sometimes.  Jesus says in Matthew, "unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."  OK, I know Jesus isn't really talking about "acting childish" but He is not putting children down either.

A few times at my clambake I looked through the window of our basement to see what the kids were up to and it was cute.  At one point about 8 of them were sitting on one couch.  I had to go down there and separate them, but they were having fun.  I have to try and remember that high school is a only a 4 year term, then it is off to college and the real world.  I hope my kids have fun and remember high school with fond memories, and make long and lasting friendships like I did.  They have the rest of their lives to prove to the world that they are the best and ever so perfect....not.  Nobody is perfect and sometimes that is the best thing about us!

There are two movies that I love that talk about our misconception of being perfect.  The first movie is my all time favorite, Moonstruck.  Near the end of the movie Nicholas Cage is trying to convince Cher that she should break her promise to her fiance (Cage's brother) and marry him (Nicholas Cage).  He says (and I paraphrase) "Love isn't perfect.  The moon and the stars are perfect, but people and love are not perfect.  We are here to make mistakes and screw everything up."  Cher could have tried to be perfect and ended up marring the wrong man, but when she messed things up, everything worked out.  Another great line is from the movie, Good Will Hunting.  In this movie, Matt Damon (Will), falls in love but is too afraid to ask the girl out because he doesn't want to find out that the girl of his dreams isn't really perfect.  Robin Williams, who is Will's shrink, says something like this to him, "You're not perfect sport, and let me save you the suspense, this girl you met, she's not perfect either.  The question is, are you perfect for each other?"

In Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams goes on to talk about how imperfect is wife was (who died of cancer), but he also says that her imperfections were the "good stuff" in their marriage.  Those are the things that make us individuals, unique.  Why would anyone, especially a parent, want to take their child's individuality away in order to have a clone or a reflection of themselves, someone they wish they could be?  I would love for the world to "think" my kids are perfect, but in the end, it is their imperfections that make them so lovable! Make mistakes boys....your Mom does all the time!


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