Growing up, I was surrounded by perfectionists. Our days were spent cleaning and organizing. Perfecting our living space so that it could be admired by any guest or random stranger that might find their way into our home. As I became a young adult, this habit stuck with me. And when I became a parent, it only intensified.
When I was pregnant with my second child I began working for a photography company. My days were spent in the studio, my nights were spent cleaning and organizing as I prepared for the birth of my son. This is how I came to meet a woman that would quickly influence my role as a parent, a friend and wife.
I met my boss for the first time during the busiest season of the year. The Christmas season. Our studio was full of families from open to close, waiting to have their faces captured just right so they could share their year in greeting cards to be sent all over the world. And she was just the person to do it. Despite the chaos of the studio, the cramped quarters and fussy infants she was happy, energetic and ready to meet the demands of each family with an energy that was loving and contagious. We quickly became work friends. Falling in sync with each others styles and depending on each other to keep a flow in the studio that was productive and creative. Allowing greatness to shine in every moment we captured on film.
On the rare occasion I had to run something to her home after work, I would find her snuggled up on the couch with her children, (2 young adults and 1 middle schooler) laughing, sharing and genuinely enjoying each others company. A love so obvious, a bystander couldn’t help but reconsider their relationships and the interactions they had with their loved ones.
Late for work one morning, I stumbled into the studio flustered and overwhelmed. Feeling like I’d let my coworkers down and afraid of the repercussion. ” I couldn’t find a matching pair of socks” I offered up as an explanation. ” I was doing the laundry yesterday and just threw all our socks into a basket. I forgot to match them up” I half hardheartedly laughed both embarrassed and frustrated.
“Good” she responded. “You have better things to do than spend your time matching up socks!”
Those simple words had a profound effect on me. One that has stayed with me everyday since.
She was right. I did have better things to do than match up socks. I had little fingers to kiss. Tummies to tickle. Stories to read, and memories to build. I had two beautiful infants that wanted to explore and learn. And they wanted to do this with me. Matching socks were nothing in the grand scheme of what actually mattered in my life.
Ten years later, those little fingers are now bigger than my own. We’ve moved across the country, graduated from elementary school, gone to first school dances, had first crushes, and felt the loss of important people in our lives. Moments have flown by so fast, but thanks to those simple words, memories have been made. And strong, loving relationships with my children have been built.
They never needed perfect. They never cared that they drawers weren’t organized. Or that sometimes when they needed to brush their hair, they’d have to dig through a drawer to find the comb. They never asked-not once!- for an easy to find pair of socks.
What they needed was me. Clumsy, scatterbrained, me. And that’s what they got. In all my glory. We’ve laughed together, cried together, yelled at each other, told stories and became something so much more important than a pair of matching socks.
We became a family.