Thursday, July 23, 2009

Between Great and Perfect

I had coffee last night with a dear friend. As all women do, I think, when they finally have a few minutes to get away from the grind of daily life and kids and family and housework, we spent much of the evening talking about...our children.

Seems kind of counter-intuitive, but that's what we do with our time "away".

Anyhow, I believe that Charlotte is likely our last child. My husband is pretty set on that, and I think I know in my heart that two children is our family's capacity. But there's that part of a women that always wants another baby. And maybe, for me, its not even so much about wanting another baby, but more about not wanting to close the childbearing chapter in my book of life and move on to the next chapter. Regardless, I've been very mindful of the fact that this could be my last "everything" as Charlotte has grown (too fast!) over the past six months, trying to savor and ponder every moment.

And, even as I'm growing into the reality that we're probably done having children, there's still a part of me that grieves.

But my dear friend told me of a conversation she had recently had with her apparently very wise sister-in-law, who had been struggling with wanting another child for quite a while. She finally came to the realization that we have an idea in our head of what the "perfect family" looks like. And this elusive perfection is something that we can never attain, regardless of how many children or how much money or how much time we have. She confessed that she had spent many years believing that if they could just have that one other child, that their family would be "perfect".

But, then...somehow, her mindset began to shift. Instead of focusing on the unattainable "perfect", she began to be able to see the already-present "great". She began to see that what she already had was wonderful, precious, a blessing...and complete.

The difference between great and perfect is so tiny, but if we spend our time focusing on the perfect that will never be, we miss the great that is right in front of (and in!) us.

This is good stuff. Really good. And I believe with all my heart that when we quit pining for more - the unattainable perfect, but begin to see the great that is already present in life, well, in some paradoxical way, it actually makes this life perfect.

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