Imperfect Children Bring Rich Rewards

Michele - Roscoe, Illinois
Entered on February 4, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: family, love

“Come fair children! Retrieve Kipling and Milton from thy Power Ranger backpacks. Let us recline on eighteenth-century Gustavian daybeds to devour sweet literature in the library. No, Jacob Charles, not the west wing library. Alas, fumes remain strong in the west as the paint on ceiling frescoes dries still.”

Such dialogue broadcasted in my teen daydreams about my future children. My sisters still remind me of incredibly immature predictions I once voiced. The predictions are curious considering we were relatively civilized, with most of us housebroken.

Yet I dreamed of a more dignified brood. Of a sophisticated manor where Ivy League sons and daughters clamored for advice. Where offspring arrived at the dinner table in Lacoste button-downs the hues of Mary Cassatt’s palette.

“Oh Mother! Would it be quite all right if I skipped Simon’s sleepover on the yacht? I so wish to add flourish to my report on Emily Dickinson due in six weeks! ”

A breeze would enter the main villa’s north clerestory windows enhancing our home’s interior scent of Ivory soap and linen…

But the year I was fourteen was a very bad year for snobby prophets.

Izod kids never showed up, and the teens with whom I live would struggle to name for you a common interest between us including Ivory soap. Indeed my kids are too lazy for soap.

“Mahhhhhhhm! Outta axe spray!!” Mastery of the English language? Check! And alas, my manchild has discovered a sexy-smart substitute for showering to boot!

“Don’t EVER ask Obama to step aside!” A threatening phrase turned by the eldest prince in response to a variety of his queen’s requests, including “please clean your room” and “don’t you think leg warmers make that outfit look feminine?”

“Dude! Me and Colin BALLED it up today – we PONED.” One of the endless slang brags about basketball from rebounding wee prince (PONE: videogamer smack talk, “to power own”).

“This family sucks!” A declaration I repeatedly rise above and translate mentally to: “My teen experience sucks. I am very distressed, mom.” (The father of teens is not as eager to translate.)

Honestly my imperfect kids make my family of origin look like royals.

I now appreciate how well behaved we kids actually were at the dinner table back in the day. I am fairly sure if I had uttered “the roast smells like butt” I would sport cranial disfigurement from a certain royal hairbrush.

Turns out, kids who crave classical literature and visits to the Louvre were not to be. Turns out, the zigzag of my pretentious plan was the best thing that ever happened to me. Those Buckingham Palace kids of my dreams have nothing on my wakeful ones who came with their own stains, genetics, and lovely imperfection.

Most days we appear to be a royal mess. But I believe in the rich rewards for living with chaos, disorder, and irreverence outside of the monarchy. I believe in this sacred knowledge:

We are – all of us in this family – made perfectly to be loved.