Yesterday at 7:15 a.m. on my 35th birthday, my four excited, exuberant, hyper little boys were bouncing balloons around the kitchen. It was all giggles and elbows and static crazy hair when Phil stopped and said, "Mommy, I still need to make you a birthday present!"
I said, "Kids, you know what would be the beeeeeeest birthday present? Can you be perfect little angels all day?"
I was half-kidding (but also half-TOTALLY SERIOUS) They sort of laughed, and went back to balloon bouncing trying to be like "perfect angels" bouncing the balloons. It didn't take long before someone was knocked over, something got spilled, someone was in tears, and the balloons had to take a little break in the garage for everyone's sanity (mostly mine). I was like, "Hey, guys, perfect little angels, right??" and they giggled and came in the kitchen to help me get ready for breakfast. Again, it wasn't long before someone forgot they were setting the table and wandered off, looked at someone funny and made them cry, spilled something, had to run from the table to use the restroom. . .you get the picture.
The rest of the day progressed like that- kiddos trying to be "perfect little angels" and mostly just being typical little kids. . .falling, squabbling, whining, needed noses wiped, etc. In the late afternoon, in the spirit of Birthday we decided to ditch the rest of homework and head to the park and meet some friends.
Along our walk, the air was crisp and the sun was slanting behind us in that perfect evening glow. It was a mix of "perfect angel kiddos" holding my hands bringing me special leaves as birthday presents and asking me super cute science questions and telling me stories and singing songs. Also, about 50% tripping, falling, crying to get out of the stroller, lagging behind, etc.
Then we get to the park and rising behind us were two hot air balloons.
So, of course, I get all giddy.
"HOT AIR BALLOONS!!! I LOVE HOT AIR BALLOONS!! It's a BIRTHDAY MIRACLE!"
The boys flip out, too. . .
"Mommy, LOOK! Hot air balloons are your favorite!"
"Mommy, they came to wish you a Happy Birthday!"
"Mommy, I will take your picture with the Birthday Hot Air Balloons!!!"
Phil took my picture.
And as the balloons rose over us and started to fly over the park, my heart was pretty full. I realized in that moment that they ARE ALWAYS and ARE ALREADY "perfect little angels." Maybe in their minds and in their bodies they are clumsy and growing and learning and perpetually "messing up", but mistakes are how we perpetually learn and grow, right!?
On the outside, they may look less than perfect. Their hair might be messed, pockets may be pulled inside out and boogers might be crusted on their noses. They might make excessive poop jokes, be too wiggly in church, whine about their homework, or even punch a bro in the nose in a heated moment.
But in their hearts, where it really matters, they are just so, so good.
So, I will pause.
Look at the boys on the floor wrestling on the unstuffed couch cushions.
Look beyond my need for external, unattainable "perfection".
And see those sweet little hearts. . .lighter and brighter than hot air balloons in the November sky.