My oldest girl is trying on more outfits than I care to see folding laundry in my bedroom before she runs to work.
She is getting her Senior Pictures taken in a few days and I just cannot wrap this old brain around the thought of it.
She wants these pictures to be perfect. And she wants to match just so.
And once I see how earnest she is about what matches and what doesn't, in true Deena fashion I throw off the socks and decide to be her clothing "Sous Chef," handing her this necklace and that one, and even stepping back a foot or two just to see if it "goes."
It may take me a bit to get in the pool, but once I'm in, I am a steamroller of help.
I am looking at her curls going every which way and glancing at my watch knowing that she is minutes away from walking out the door for work while now in my room in her best concert -length gown.
She doesn't like layers, necklaces of just about any kind and would have neon toenails if I let her, peeping out from a bit of a platform sandal.
I am literally coaxing her into pearls.
Her eyes are bugging out at each turn of jewelry and I am just steam rolling along as I tend to do.
I tug and pull and look at this color with this one, and finally realize that the best Senior picture or any picture for that matter is the one where you look exactly like yourself.
In my mind's eye I can picture her standing and the camera snapping her million dollar smiles and my heart squeezes a bit. This old soul was ready for Senior pics in 6th grade.
Minus her serious grunge shoe problem.
She asks me to go with her to the photo shoot, to help her "smile for real," and I smile knowing that it the EXACT same thing my husband would say to me. They are cut from the same cloth, these two.
We opt for THE outfit that says, "Abbs." We pick one a slight bit fancier but still her and one a bit more casual.
Her brother lies on the bed watching me fold and pretends to read one of his Dad's books so he doesn't have to get ready for work either. Every once and a while I catch him off guard and get a good pair of socks to his face which brings heaps of happiness.
To me, not him.
What is it about Mom and Dad's bed that becomes the bus stop for everyone in the house human or feline?
Like they hear the fluffing of the pillows and run from all corners of the house with glee to ruin them and bury their heads in my covers. Even doing laundry they sneak in as if to miss something immeasurably important going on.
It's Mom and Dad's Room FOMO at it's finest.
It drives me batty but in some weird way it's a comfort too.
This Mom heart has changes a million times and in a million ways in 19 years.
I am finding that if one of my crew is close to me at all, I am rubbing a back, a shoulder, a head, a foot... I am just a Mom who rubs and cuddles and needs small ice every now and again in a tall glass of pop.
One is trying to carve a panda in a block of wood and one still has dishes in the sink from yesterday.
Rarely do I ever feel like a moment is wrapped in a nice big bow.
We all laugh and I get a kiss and off they go to sell sandwiches and soup.
And I head out back to watch the birds and just feel the breeze on my face before the dinner grind.
I am listening to an audio book because I am a terrible reader and I notice that if I had a ginormous hedge trimmer and ladder I could trim all the trees in the backyard and make them perfectly rounded.
No limbs sticking out, no bare spots. All uniform.
And the Holy Spirit reminds me that there's no bows out here either.
Well, except for the one He uses to remind me that He is still in charge.
I laugh at myself because I crave the order and delight of feeling like things are finished.
But perfect lasagna every time gives you little to remember and laugh at like burnt lasagna does.
Ask me how I know these things.
Who wants EVERY hair in place, every branch in line, and every line of icing just so?
Isn't there beauty to be had in surprise patches of Johnny Jump-ups from years ago and teen girl's messy buns?
What a bore my life would be if everything was just so.
Truth be told, if the world was perfect we'd have no place to live.
No place to have a family, spread a rug, or even peanut butter and jelly.
I AM convinced that it WOULD have teeny ice flowing from every freezer... I digress..
If we matched everyone around us, we'd have no new ideas, no wonderful surprises in conversations, no new ways of doing just about anything and life would be one big mess of rightness.
Can you even imagine a world where every painting looked alike, every book the same plot, and every song the same tune?
I'm glad that the imperfect in this day has reminded me that nothing NEEDS to be our version of perfect.
Not one single solitary thing needs to match anything else or anyone else to be sincerely enjoyable.
The sky will never be this exact way again and it can be appreciated.
The casserole you forgot to add onions in can still be prayed over with just as much thanks.
(perhaps the onions missing WAS because someone was praying....)
The kids with messy hair and dirty faces are just what makes your home YOURS and not anyone else's.
We want to box it all up and for goodness sakes clean it a million times, but it doesn't have to be just so.
It doesn't even NEED to be.
It just needs to be ours and covered with love.
It's not always Kum Ba Yah.
There's misunderstanding and burnt lasagna tops sometimes.
I am painfully slowly learning that there's always still good to be had underneath.
So it's different.
So it's not the way you thought it would be.
Bite through the crunch and see what's waiting for you under the mess.
99 percent of the time it's cheese.
Warm, lovely cheese that makes it not seem as bad as you thought it was in the first place.
In a world where even our eyebrows don't have to match anymore, lets just relax our grip and enjoy the only bow the Lord has given us.
The one that always comes right after the mess.
The one that says, the worst thing has already happened and I'm still here.
Can a house, a home, a marriage, a heap of kids, a ministry, a life be too matchy-matchy?
I think so.
I need reminded that it doesn't have to be just so.
Just so... what anyway?
Just so others will see?
(pause for spiritual check right here for this Momma)
Just so you can look good?
Just so no one will see brokenness and a need for Christ to hold it all together?
Just so we can pretend we control one single thing in this topsy turvy world right now?
There's a bow to be had, but it's not in our kid's closets, OR school desks.
It's not in our marriages and meals and make-up routines.
It's waaaaayyy up in the sky keeping us looking straight up and not around us.
Not to the next home schooling Mama, the online guru or next couple.
Up to Him, who loves hearing that we need Him a million times a day.