On a lazy Sunday morning, I can be found lounging on the couch. My mismatched socks compliment my 20-year-old sweatpants. My hair is sticking up in every which way, as I watch my daughter dance to the music roaring from the speaker. At that moment, I’m in a state of true bliss. Gone are the days of being dressed to nines and worrying about every tiny detail. My life is perfectly imperfect, a motto my daughter has helped me embrace.
I’ve always been driven to succeed. When I put my mind to something, I very rarely give up. Even in my childhood, I was a planner; my outfit of the day set out the night before school. In college, I could often be found walking through campus with confidence in my stride; my put-together appearance masking any insecurity I felt inside.
When I married my husband, we had it all planned out: buy a house, have children and live happily ever after. But that fairytale ending came crashing down when we experienced two devastating losses. After giving birth to our triplets extremely premature, we lost our son and one of our daughter’s within two months. Our lone survivor arrived home after nearly four months in the hospital. Our picture-perfect life was suddenly turned upside down.
People say that life changes after you have a child. I knew my days would be altered, but I had no idea how drastically different my life would become after bringing a tiny baby into this world. In addition to the sleepless nights and around the clock feedings, my husband and I also had to take into account our child’s medically fragile condition. Oxygen tubes were a necessity; the giant tank her lifeline as it towered over her petite body. Our life became one big calendar, filled with endless doctors and therapists. The days were exhausting; the stress sometimes mind-numbing, and the grief over our losses often unbearable. I was often frazzled and running on fumes. It wasn’t the life we had planned, but our daughter kept us on our toes, teaching us to embrace the unexpected.
As the years passed by, our daughter began grow out of her medical issues. The doctors and therapists faded into the sunset and our miracle child blossomed into a healthy, typical toddler. But with the clean bill of health, came the ornery personality. Soon the “terrible twos” gave way to the “threenager” status. The days of her listening to me and behaving like an angel were long gone. Instead, I often found myself at the last straw as I tried to reason with a three-year-old. But, after a few deep breaths, I found my resolve. Life isn’t always going to follow that perfect path, you have to learn to adapt.
These days, life is crazy, but I’ve tossed my Type-A personality out the window when I’m at home. Sure, I try to get my daughter to eat vegetables, but I don’t fret if she spits them out. And there are days where I’m running late for a meeting, only to find my child refusing to put clothes on. After lunch, my daughter can often be found with ketchup on her sleeves or chocolate in the crevices of her smile. It’s all part of being a child. Instead of worrying about my busy schedule or a perfectly groomed daughter, I’ve learned to embrace the unpredictable. My daughter is growing up quickly before my eyes and I don’t want to look back at life with any regret.
As I lay on the couch watching my daughter twirl and flail as she dances, a smile forms while my body lets out a giant exhale. Life is crazy—a sort of controlled chaos as I try to figure out this thing called parenting. We all have our flaws and that’s what makes each of us unique. My daughter has taught me that the little things in life are not important, that embracing each day with passion and exhilaration is the best way to live. She has taught me to let go of my insecurities and has helped me embrace life’s blemishes. My daughter has taught me to be comfortable in my own skin. I’m happy being perfectly imperfect, because in my daughter’s eyes, I’m mom…and that’s perfection.
A version of this post originally appeared at Mamalode