I wrote this piece originally on blithe, a blog but wanted to share it with you all here as well. Whether you are a mom, mentor, or a student, I feel like this is our heart’s cry to all of the young ladies following on the path of life behind us. Young ladies, please hear our cry when we say we have tried perfection and we have failed. And we want so much for you than perfect.
A few months ago my sweet daughter Piper had a big moment in the life of a young girl: she was a flower girl.
And a rather adorable one.
Piper is 2-years-old and is the ham of the family; she will do anything to make you laugh. She is a chatterbox and will repeat anything you say. She loves to pick out her own clothes down to her shoes and bow (smiling at herself in the mirror afterwards) and then will run straight out to wrestle with her brother. She loves to be read to, cuddled before bedtime, and anything that has Minnie Mouse on it. She has a bit of bright blonde hair that makes the cutest little curls that fall on her neck and bright blue-grey eyes. She is nothing short of precious.
The day of her official flower girl duties I worked out the details of her schedule till the last minute: nap-time, then a quick dinner, then thrown in the bathtub to try to help those little blonde curls spring up, painting her little toes nails, and then into her fluffy dress and off to the wedding. The perfect little flower girl.
But of course things never go as planned. So she slept late, wouldn’t eat, her bath was 3 minutes tops and there was no time to paint anyone’s nails. Daddy helped her get dressed since Mommy still wasn’t ready yet and off we ran to the wedding site with me frantically remembering if I had packed her hair bow or not.
Then the prepping was worse: Mommy playing with her hair bow so much that her little curls went flat, her fair white skin was covered in a small pink rash on her cheeks from the wind, and a small streak of lipgloss (Mommy’s fault!) smeared across the front of her beautiful Tiffany blue and white dress.
Definitely not the perfect situation. And I was getting stressed.
But Piper… well Piper was in heaven. She twirled and fluffed her little white skirt over and over. She played and laughed with the other flower girl. She saw the pond and ducks on the beautiful golf course and ran after them. She swung her flower girl basket before she even reached the aisle and smiled as the pretty pink petals flew all over the ground. Her cute little shoes were kicked off about 45 seconds after she reached her mark and her little feet swirled around feeling the grass beneath them. She held the other flower girl’s hand and twirled back and forth until she saw Daddy and came running to see him. She sat on his lap the rest of the service chewing on her flower basket ribbon and drawing on a piece of scratch paper. At the reception she toddled around in her bare feet munching on her chicken strips and fries. She made her way to the candy bar (many times) all alone for one more treat. She cuddled in Mommy’s lap to take selfie pictures and watch “The Incredible’s” on my phone. Piper had the perfect day.
As I cuddled my daughter late into the evening I realized my expectations for her that day were all wrong. I wanted her to look like and be the perfect flower girl. But Piper ended up just being herself the whole day… And then I realized something powerful to me.
I held her close and whispered in her ear, “I want more for you than perfect.”
I want you to wear your favorite shirt every single day if you want to, even if it is dirty, because you love it so much.
I want you to stop and dance in the middle of the store because you enjoy the music.
I want you to pick out the mismatched bow and shoes to complete your outfit because they are special to you.
I want you to have messy hair and stained clothes because you were rolling down a grassy hill with your brother.
I want you to spill Cheerios all over the floor because you are trying to be independent and pour it yourself.
I want you to take up soccer as a hobby (even if I prefer ballet) because you love to run and kick and play.
I want you to sing at the top of your lungs wherever you are at because the song makes you happy.
I want you to look in the mirror every day and smile at what you see (something I never could myself) because you like who God made you to be.
I hope you always take off your shoes, feel the grass between your toes, turn your face to the wind and let it blow your little curls away. Because that, my sweet girl, is the way it should be. It is so much better than perfect.