Celebrating Near-Perfect on Mother’s Day

I know, I know… it’s a Hallmark holiday. But my dear Fred happened to be born on Mother’s Day so I’m fond of it in my own way. And like birthdays which I consider personal new years, even contrived holidays have their place as a marker to review your time in this world.

For all of our good intentions, hopes, and efforts as parents, life doesn’t play by rules. In fact, it often seems like it scoffs at your “plans.” Parenting, in particular, is a demanding experience in life that defies the best-laid plans and pre-conceived notions. So we ride the ride, guiding when we can, letting things unfold when necessary, and celebrate the victories that far too often seem few and far between.

Somewhere on this ride, parenting taught me that perfection is a myth. Once you realize that, you’re free to focus on what really counts. It’s also taught me that, while nebulous perfection doesn’t exist, there are near-perfect moments. And that accumulating a collection of those moments makes for a beautiful life.

If you’ve followed the blog for any length of time, you’ve seen the amazing adventures the boys and I have undertaken. As you can imagine, through all the years of being a stay-at-home-mom, then a homeschooling one, and through all of our travels together, I’ve got quite a collection of near-perfect moments.

But this one—this moment, crouched on the bank of the Little Missouri River, the Disapproving Beagle snuggled up next to me, watching his boys intently—was extraordinarily beautiful. Fred and George joyously running in the cool, fresh water behind our campsite as the sun set. Everything was right in our world at that moment. It was as close to perfection as I’ve ever gotten.

We’ve had incredible moments in our years together, both before this and since. And there will be more to come, of course. But on this Mother’s Day, I celebrate this moment—free, spectacular, fulfilling.

theodore roosevelt national park - val in real life
I’m not sure if they even remember it. For me, this is pure parenting joy—watching as they grow and thrive.