What I'm saying here is that I began this post some time ago, and I had thoughts that went with it. Now I have thoughts that WILL go with it, but I can't be exactly sure what the original spark was.
My mother was a perfectionist. If she did something it was perfect. Be it cleaning a room, making a bed, or even preparing a meal. That is a rather daunting heritage to live up to.
If my grandmother ever was a perfectionist it got knocked out of her by living a 'real' life. I remember her telling of just finishing washing the dining room floor, and company suddenly showed up, and...well, you guessed it. Good bye clean floor.
I don't believe that type of scenario ever played in my mother's theater. I don't think she ever quite understood the life and times of other players either. There was always an unspoken (most of the time unspoken) rift between my mother and grandmother. I can only guess at what the reason may have been, and it causes me sorrow to this day.
I have one sister. She's a perfectionist. We for most of our lives have lived on different planets. She chose not to have children, worked hard, did the things she needed to do, and...
"Well, look at that picture. There's Jackie and her perfect Christmas tree..." our adorable cousin is scrutinizing my Christmas card from my sister. It is a card from the year before, and I've looked at that card several times since receiving it, but I never honestly noticed the foolish tree before. The tree isn't really foolish, it's exactly like adorable cousin said, it's perfect. It's perfectly shaped, perfectly decorated, and just perfect. Sigh
As I said, in my family there are two siblings—my sister and I. My mother at least got half of her perfect children. My sister rode and competed in Western horse shows. She was grand champion one year, she was that good. Then along came me. I rode bareback and a lot like an Indian. I don't say this to impugn Indians in any way, but... I did have a bridle, but the faster my pony and I could fly the better I liked it. They called me 'grasshopper' because Wee Willie (pony) would be flying along and I'd be kicking and kicking sitting on his back. I was a very young child, so Wee Willie probably thought I was a grasshopper and my short legs were probably sticking out to the sides and kicking nothing. Note here that my oldest cousin said I learned to ride before I could walk, and if she wasn't totally right she was pretty close.
That was a summation of our lives. My sister, the self-disciplined achiever. Always on the honor-roll, always perfect. I was so proud of her for doing what I could never do. The only thing she didn't get that she should have had was Homecoming Queen. She was cheated out of that honor, but she was a gracious lady about it even then, not spiteful or vengeful.
If I happened to be on the honor roll, no one was more surprised than I was. If I did something right no one was more surprised than I was. One of my mother's oft repeated barbs at me was, 'You're just like you grandmother.' That would have been a poke except I realized I loved my grandmother, I was not just like her, and it was not a big deal either way.
It might come as a surprise to people to know that I'm a perfectionist as well. However, just as my grandmother's theater had a different movie playing, so have I. I've learned survival techniques that my mother—and sister—never needed. I realized that just getting several children clean and presentable for Sunday worship, making it to church on time (sometimes just by a nose) AND having a pair of shoes and a pair of socks on each set of feet was an accomplishment.
I realized that being a perfectionist is sometimes secondary to being alive, and success isn't always how clean my house is, or perfect my Christmas tree is, or a whole host of other things that I would like to be perfect. I don't know exactly how to measure success. I can't point to my fine house, car, furnishings, or any 'thing' I have. Except, I have a loving God and Jesus is my Savior. Therein lies my comfort and strength. On a number of occasions people have asked me about my amazing family. The first time that happened I was about to answer, 'I don't know, it just happened'. This wee small voice in my head said, 'No, it didn't just happen'. I thought about the years of loving them, teaching and nurturing them. I thought of the years of giving up a monetary income to stay home and bake cookies, bake bread, read stories, and so many other things. Just as having a house is not the same as making a home, giving birth to children isn't the same thing as raising and nurturing a family.
God's plan is always right:
"In the fear of Jehovah is strong confidence; And his children shall have a place of refuge. The fear of Jehovah is a fountain of life, That one may depart from the snares of death."(Proverbs 14:26-27 ASV)
Hallelujah! What a Savior!