What My 2-Year Old Taught Me About Being Imperfect

These are my stories — my imperfections.

Here is something I know about my daughter: She is and will always be perfectly imperfect.

My 2-year-old whipped around the corner as her father chased her, shrieking, “No, daddy, don’t get me!” She tore through the dining room into the kitchen, slamming headfirst into the kitchen island.

The sound was horrific. I knew it was bad. 

I grabbed her face as she screamed, waiting for the inevitable swell of the goose egg, but it didn’t appear. She screamed as I turned her head from side to side looking for the booboo, and then I took my hand off her head — it was covered in blood.

I felt terror and anger at my damn husband, and then guilt. It could have been me chasing her.

Long story short — she got two staples in her head. But the deeper story is a feeling that welled up in me that needed further investigation.

I had this fleeting feeling that she was now damaged because she would have a scar. I remember feeling the same way the day I picked her up from daycare to find out she had a chipped tooth.

“She’s not perfect anymore.”

Holy crap, where are these thoughts coming from and where do they have the potential to go?

I myself am covered in what look like freckles (but what I suspect is actually sun damage), stretch marks, scars that denote about five major surgeries (including two cesarean sections), over 18 tattoos, and a skin graft.

These imperfections tell my stories of my life — my survival.

New Zealand is where I spent my childhood, where the ozone is thin and the sun burns your cheeks quickly. Rapid weight gain gave way to stretch marks as I went through puberty. Scars from surgical complications marked my five days in the ICU and a patch of groin skin grafted to my hand. Images both random and meaningful marking impulsivity and self-exploration ignited by a dash of mental illness, during my young adult years. And the births of my two most treasured earthly possessions (I know they are only mine for a time).

These are my stories — my imperfections.

Here is something I know about my daughter: She is and will always be perfectly imperfect. My fleeting thought that she was damaged was truly fleeting; her value never diminished in my heart. She has awesome self-esteem. But… the thoughts about myself and my imperfections are lingering; they aren’t so easily ushered out of my consciousness.

I have learned a lot through loving my daughters. I aspire to love myself in the same way and am on a journey that I hope will lead me there.

What I can tell you is that I know without a doubt that they are the most worthy beings, just because they are.

I believe that about me, and I believe that about you.

And as I mature into true womanhood, I love and value imperfections because that is where our stories lie. I yearn for the depth of comparing and sharing scars. This is something we as women do well, as long as we know the value of these scars, rather than fearing their damage.

We are not damaged; we are perfectly imperfect — just as we should be.

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