Be still for a breath while I tell you a theory: Our scars are beautiful. They mean we survived. Look closer. The best loved in your life are not pristine. The best loved are torn, patched, worn until the threads peek through.
Her favorite silky is her oldest. Once crisp and bright, it is now faded and soft. Yet, when it was crisp and bright, it was also easy to tear. Rigid threads would not yield, would not bend, so they were left with no choice but to break. I grab her silky from the dryer for the hundredth time and snag it on a rod. It holds, strong, pulls me firmly back. My baby daughter’s best loved silky didn’t used to have that strength. She gave it that strength.
Love doesn’t mean gentle. Love is challenging, an endurance test under an unflinching sun.
I look my sons in the eye. Flinch myself as I see my failures written in the corners. Soften as I see my strength reflected in their center. We tear each other down only to build a better us.
We are young, yes, but we have lived with a fury.
I tell my husband, “That boy is too stoic. I want to soften him, let him let me love him more.” His eyes grow wide as he starts, “Are you crazy? We don’t want him soft!” We push and pull. Our son’s core stabilizes between us. His strength grows from our handling.
We make mistakes every day. We all know this. I would hate for my children to think that I’m perfect. Can you imagine if they tried to emulate perfection? How they would crumble at the first crack in their own facade. Our perfection grows from our effort.
You will never learn if you have no mistake from which to learn. Sure, a cliché, but it’s the first time these kids have heard it.
My kids fall down all the time. My toddler daughter has already knocked out one of her front teeth and the other has a chip in it. I have to answer to bangs and bruises, assure the preschool that it was a wrestling match/ superhero bout/ amateur hang gliding accident. I don’t flinch when they fall, I tell them it’s part of the package of being a kid.
“Do you know what I did when I was your age? Nearly poked my eye out that time! I definitely remembered it the next time I tried that.” They don’t flinch when they fall, either. We assess the damage and keep on playing.
Not every parent has the stomach for this kind of bold beauty. Not every parent has the eye for it.
Pristine is not for us. We lower our heads, raise our eyes boldly, take in the scars. We use the fancy soap, use the good china, adore the guest towels. We live here, after all. We love every inch of our being, live every breath, love it all threadbare.