Fighting Perfection

em1This is for Shawna:  http://wp.me/p2fyMU-2fl. The link will take you to Kaitlin Johnson’s guest post at the Superstition Review blog.

Reading it, I remembered a story my mother used to tell about me. According to Mom, I refused to color (remember those coloring books and the Crayolas from childhood) until I could do it perfectly. I watched my older brother. My mom showed me what to do, but I stood by and watched. When I did start coloring, I did it flawlessly, all in the lines. Green trees, blue sky, brown dogs, smoke curling from perfect houses.

I think of my own daughters and their love of a mess. When Annie and Pearl were in preschool they used to come home covered in paint. I said to their teacher, “Can’t they wear smocks?” And not just their teacher but every adult in earshot turned and said, “They do!” Pearl, especially, loved anything with texture. Carving pumpkins, she still has to get her hands in the guts of the beast and FEEL everything. The more smeared up her hands and arms, the better. Worms, dirt, the ocean. I could tell you story after story of  full body immersion.

I said (above) that this post is for my friend Shawna. But I think it’s really for me. Bethany: don’t be afraid to make a mess.

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