She doesn't ask for my perfection.
Tonight I took the dog and kid outside. Since it was dark, I just carried the little one while the dog wandered about for a spot to poop. When the dog started pooping, I put my daughter down so I could get out a poop bag. Immediately upon putting her down, my daughter fell, then got up, took a step, and fell yet again very narrowly missing a fall into a freshly deposited turd. Sometimes I can’t believe that part of my job is to be responsible for the life of another human being who so nearly stumbles into dog shit.
Times such as these bring a certain poignancy to the fact that I have no idea what I’m doing. This is true in parenting, but this is also true in most things. I’m often going about things in a way where I consider it a great day when I narrowly miss falling into a dog shit. It feels a little different though when the person nearly falling into dog shit isn’t me, but my most perfect and lovely daughter. I feel a little sloppy sometimes, you know? I have to remind myself constantly that we all feel a little sloppy. At least, I sure hope we all feel this way.
The thing that always surprises me is that despite not knowing what I’m doing, she seems to really like me. Like, she is shockingly pleased to see me almost all the time. And I work as a nanny and bring her along with me while I work, so she’s getting in nearly all her waking hours with this messy human who loves her such an intense amount that I barely know how that much love can be contained in one person. But, here’s what I really need to remember. More than I need to remember that all parents feel sloppy too. She doesn’t ask for my perfection. She asks for many things, but my perfection is not one of them. She does ask to be held. She asks for her loveys “baby” and “dino.” She asks for snacks, more snacks, to go outside, and to help me cook. Mostly, she asks for my love. And it is that which I can provide in abundance. My perfection is conditional and elusive, my love is not. This imperfect, sloppy, standing too close to dog turds person is capable of full, unlimited, overflowing love.