Imperfect Parenting

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Shortly after having my first baby, I decided I was going to be the perfect parent. I immediately began to keep an intelligent library of child-rearing books on my nightstand and would replenish the stock as each book was absorbed into my sub-consciousness and checked off the "read" list. My fixation on perfection was evident. The bookstore clerks began to call me by name. My bank statement regularly presented the preference for my local Borders Bookstore and my husband was consistently reminded of my expertise on the subject from my readily available corrections and helpful tips.

When the matriarchs of my family tree would enlighten me with the sage advice of "I made my mistakes and you will make yours", I would nod in agreement simply to humor them and pay respect for the admittance of their parental blunders. But, I reassured myself that there was no way I would let "mistakes" creep into my role as mother. My children would be raised seamlessly, with nary a flaw, and would grow up to raise their children perfectly because of my initiatives toward diligent parenting. I was on a glorious roll until my firstborn learned to draw.

Revelation #1 came when my son was in his darling fourth year. This is the year where children begin to draw stick figures, flowers, and houses with smoked coming out of the chimney. My firstborn was no different. I was so pleased when I came across a sketch that my son had drawn of the pleasant panoramic rendition of our front yard. It had such pleasing detail, including a whispy, three-tiered, warm smiling sun and two overly tall flowers, surely symbolizing my sweet one's love for the beauty in his life. The house had a slightly rounded roof which I was sure represented the gentle parenting he received; the lack of sharp edges, a sign of the warmth emulated within my son's nurturing home environment. Frilly curtains aligned the cheery open windows.