Originally published Monday, 02 December 2013.
She had rehearsed her one line for days. And it was an important one too, the opening line. That morning she asked me a dozen questions about how she should smile, what she should do with her hair and which of her shoes looked the most like Pilgrim shoes.
She looked perfect and with script in hand we walked to the bus stop.
Just before she climbed onto the bus she shouted back at me, “You’ll be there right mommy?” “Yes honey, I wouldn’t miss it for anything,” I said and smiled as she rode off to school.
And so at 1:00 pm I made my way to the elementary school for the much-anticipated 2nd grade Thanksgiving performance.
I took a seat in the front row and watched my little girl giggle with nervous excitement as she and her friends watched the parents arrived. They were so adorbs with their hand-made Pilgrim and Indian costumes.
The play began with a song sung by all the kids. And then it was time for my Kennedy’s big line. The one she practiced no less than 3 million times. The one she predicted would quickly send her to the Big Screen. And the one line I was there to hear.
She began strong but about 3 words into the line my poor Kennedy caught a horrific case of the uncontrollable, inappropriate giggles. And so, she flung her paper at her head and said, “Oh my gosh!” Her face turned fire engine red and I could see the tears she was fighting back.
And there she stood for the rest of that 15-minute production with a paper over her face. She. Was. Mortified.
My momma heart sank as I watched my little girl stand before this group fighting her tears. And as soon as the performance was over she ran to me and collapsed into my arms. With tears streaming down her face she whispered, “I messed up mommy, I messed up so bad. And I practiced so hard!”
I tried my very best to console her but she wasn’t having much to do with my, “It’s ok…” pep talk.
The most important moments in life are not the ones we perfect with ease and grace. They are the moments that remind us that we are human; filled with flaws and quirks. Because these are the things that make us, us.
Kennedy Grace is a laugher. It’s what makes her, her. Even though sometimes it comes at the most inopportune time.
We will all have these come-to-the-edge moments where our expectations don’t match the reality of what is happening.
Perhaps the Psalmist who wrote this verse understood this all to well:
“To all perfection I see a limit…” Psalm 119:96
Sometimes we need a gentle reminder about the lies of perfection.
~ When that scale shouts numbers you didn’t expect. Perfection lies. It’s ok to be you.
~ When the mirror shows wrinkles, age spots and acne [despite you being well past your teen years…] Perfection lies, it’s ok to be you.
~ When that makeup product fails to do what it promised you it would. Perfection lies, it’s ok to be you.
~ And when you stand up in front of your entire 2nd grade class and your inappropriate laughter disorder takes over. Perfection lies, it’s ok to be you.
I’ll never forget her 2nd grade Thanksgiving play. Not only because it made me smile but because of the reminder it has given me to let perfection have its place, somewhere else.