Life is a beautiful mess - it's both beautiful and messy. You can't separate the two, not really. We can crop and edit and post cleverly-worded statuses, but no one can keep that up forever and Littles speed the demise of that illusion - not that our homes or our lives were perfect until they got their sticky little handprints all over them, but they make it a whole lot harder to pretend. For example: since I got my hair cut short last July, I've had to get it trimmed at least every 8 weeks. (I promise this is relevant - hang with me.) I brilliantly set my last appointment for December 20th, two weeks before Tobin was due, so that by the time I needed to have it cut again he would be predictable enough to leave with Adam for a little while. Except that he ended up being born on the 20th. That was almost three weeks ago. My hair grows very quickly, and the shorter it is the more quickly that fact becomes a problem - at this point, on a good day the best I can hope for is Peter Pan (he's usually played by a girl anyway, right?) and on a bad day my reflection resembles a young Paul McCartney and I spend the rest of the day avoiding mirrors.
But a few days ago, Brooklyn and I were playing with the forward-facing camera on my phone (that's a feature that's new to me) and I captured both of us laughing at each other. I paused, gritted my teeth, and posted the picture - after all, it's a good picture of Brooklyn and at least we're both happy. And you know what? That's all anyone noticed. They didn't see the things that stand out so badly to me - the pile of pillows and blankets balanced precariously on the back of the couch, the clothes I had slept in the night before (by that point a little worse for wear), the smudge of peanut butter on the end of Brooklyn's nose, and the mess of hair that I had neither looked at nor touched all day.
When I chose vulnerability, others responded with grace. We're all desperate for affirmation that we're not alone in whatever we're going through, and we all need to be reminded that while we're busily glopping mascara onto the eyelashes we're convinced are too short, all the ones who care about us notice is the way our eyes sparkle when we laugh. Let's realize that we're often our own worst critics, and find freedom in the realization - freedom to accept a compliment without deflecting it with self-deprecation, freedom to point out the beauty in others that their mess may have blinded them to, and freedom to give Beauty an enthusiastic hug, even if we're covered in peanut butter, because joy and love and grace cover all.
1192. Adam's parents coming for a visit
1193. That January first is a Federal holiday, so Adam was off work
1194. Tobin's sweet sleepiness and enjoyment of being held
1195. Eating breakfast in peace and making muffins for the next week while Adam's parents interacted with Brooklyn and Tobin
1196. Noticing that she was out of clean jammies several hours before bedtime, so I was able to do her laundry
1197. Adam actually leaving work at 3:30 like he's supposed to - I'm going to like this new job!
1198. Conviction, and prompting to apply the previous day's She Reads Truth study
1199. Erranding together - Tobin did great, and Brooklyn was especially brave to sit patiently on a bench without wandering off or getting into anything while we were in the Verizon store
1200. Not sleeping in Tobin's room (at least for the first half of the night...)
1201. Lunch out, all-four-together
1202. Napping with Tobin for awhile, then napping alone after Adam took him
1203. Spending the evening warm and snug at home while Adam and Brooklyn went to get groceries
1204. Grace and strength, to make up for the rest I didn't get
1205. Coloring with Brooklyn - we taped a big sheet of paper to share onto the kitchen floor
1206. Finishing a magazine, a podcast, and a hat for Tobin after they went to bed and before Adam got home
1207. A calm, pleasant jammy day, just-us-three
1208. Moments of rest
1209. Sitting on the couch, holding Tobin and reading books with Brooklyn
1210. Tobin cooperating for a design photoshoot, and then someone commending the genuineness of the pictures
1211. Bagging up my maternity clothes to store, and getting the mountain of un-put-away laundry that I've been avoiding for months taken care of
1212. Having Brooklyn undressed but not in her bath yet when Tobin decided that he had Needs
How can you embrace the imperfections in your own life, and help others see the beauty in theirs?