I thought of something in a new light!
I am visiting my grandmother for a few days. She is feeble, old, and does not have much going on in life. So mostly she just talks about her grandchildren. Micah was the most awful toddler. Rachel will never leave home and will never get married. Jordan is not safe on the internet. Joy should not move to California because “people are too weird in California.” And then she’ll get personal. “Lana, some day you will regret spending all these years traveling and never making friends.” I assure her that I have friends overseas. Then she argues that they are not friends, “only people like you and who live in the same place as you are friends.”
Then at some point Grandma gets tired of the boo hoo, or I get too tired of the personal insults and family gossip that I snap, and so Grandma flips the coin.
“Lana, you are a really sweet young lady. So is your sister Joy.” I scoff, “and everyone else?” “Oh,” Grandma continues, “I have the most sweet grandchildren. Ashley is so sweet, and she found herself a good husband who is also sweet. And Charis is sweet, and and…..”
“Grandma, people can be sweet on the outside and not a great person,” I say.
“Oh, but my grandchildren are sweet. Nobody drinks, smokes, or is disrespectful to their parents. Micah and Jordon are not really sweet, though. But they are just the most perfect grandchildren a grandmother could ask for.”
“Perfect, seriously?!!!!” I don’t know why I’m flabbergasted.
“Oh, well what is perfect?” Grandma asks.
“Whatever I am not,” I reply with a smirk.
“Oh, but Micah, Charis, Joy,” this person and that person “are as perfect as they come.”
The perfect grandchildren conversation continues until I finally snap.
“Can we quit putting us on a pedestal?! ” I exclaim. “There is nobody perfect in this family. We are humans. That’s what we are. Not bad. Not perfect. Just people trying are darnest to live life the best we can.”
And right then I get a flashback to childhood. As kids, when we were at church or at a homeschool event, we were the perfect homeschool family. When the “perfect” homeschool families came over, we were perfect too. (This was Mom, not Dad.) But then at home, we were failures, disappointments, “screwed up” (Dad’s words), rude, impolite [insert any word wanted].
Why the extremes? We aren’t bad. We are not perfectly-sweet-and-fantastic all in one either. We are people. And we are trying to pick up broken fragments in our lives and piece them together to make a picture.
Anyone else with me on this?!