The other day I put the question to a few friends (The Mama's) and my sister.... "Who/what is your Ideal Mother?"
I answered first, saying that I would choose to be a combination of Samantha Stevens, Mary Poppins, and Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus.
My friends (being the paragons that they are) all listed Mother Theresa as a vital part.
Doh! Forgot Mother Theresa!
At first I was like "(sigh), I still have such a long way to go, they're all paragons, and I am waaaaay over here, flipping and flopping and flailing about!"
But then again....
Something really great happened to me right after composing that list.
I became Free.
While including Samantha Stevens - I was including all of her. Her ability to set things right by a twitch of the nose. Dishes, broken down car, (grin) nosy neighbor, whatever. Her "Well?!?"s, her gasping "Oh My Stars!" which I also say, her irritating mother, her crazy relatives (I don't have any, but have always wanted some), her quirks, her imperfections, and her Samantha Stevens-ness. She's not perfect. She has personality, and sometimes shrewdness, and pretty much does things - regardless of grave council- the way that she thinks is best.
Mary Poppins is Practically Perfect In Every Way, of course. But she is not Perfectly Perfect. She walks a little funny. She's a bit too prim. She doesn't laugh much. She's too serious. She leaves you wondering if she approves of you or not.
But she is always game for issuing guidance. And she knows cool people. And though she may be a bit stiff on the outside, she accepts life's magical moments in stride... as if it's understood by all that these things can and do go on in Every Day Life.
She assumes that everything, I think, is Practically Perfect. Or at least - with a little help from her.
Ms. Frizzle. The ultimate unschooler!
She has tools. She has a light heart. She doesn't demand. If you want out, she'll certainly let you out, and leave you in a position that was just what you needed.
She can lead you to places that are so remarkable - so fascinating - so splendiferous - that you are left feeling, "How have I ever lived my life on this earth not knowing such a Grand and Fascinating Thing?" Indeed, she is responsible for much of my own voracious delves into All Things Science.
I'm not saying (or thinking) that my answers were superior, or smarter, or more realistic than my friends'. I am saying that They Were Me.
I am flawed.
I am impatient (though I am getting better, thank you very much).
I am not Mother Theresa.
I have an amazing ego (well!?!), a sometimes scowling disposition, a general "hmmph"ing attitude - similar to that of an Eccentric Dowager Duchess - without the blue blood and "right" to assume such a lofty position, I'm bossy, and often self-centered, and, and, and, and.
I'll stop in the name of self preservation.
In that space, somewhere in that thought that had not yet been entirely thought out, or had not yet culminated into an "ultimately this is who I would like to be" I chose women whom I admired, but who were flawed.
In doing so, I left a wide open space for me to include all that was Me.
In mentioning women (albeit fictional) that I find an affinity with, women that are imperfect, but that shine regardless of those imperfections, I left room for imperfections of my own self.
It wasn't with intention.
But in that space, I found not an excuse to be complacent, but still a place that could and would allow me to grow and learn.
A freedom to be Me.
A comfortability with that Me.
For the first time - I was good enough.
And I was Welcome.