When I was a young mom, one of favorite mantras was “It’s good enough.” Making the school lunches for the kids, I’d wonder if that little bag of gummy fruit snacks could pass as a fruit serving. Hmm. I don’t have any fruit, so you know what? It’s good enough.
The one-ply toilet paper is way cheaper than the name brand. Sold. Good enough.
My morning bed-head looked like a rats nest and a tumbleweed had a love child. Grabbing a rubber band for a quick pony tail, I’d check the mirror and think, “Good enough.”
My two-year-old dresses herself, deciding to go through her day in size eighteen month sweatpants and a clashing shirt (worn backwards for just a touch of toddler flair). Buckling her into the car seat for a trip to Grandma’s I sigh… Oh well, it’s good enough.
Oh sure, I’d dream of perfection. Things like two-ply toilet paper, soft beachy waves and a child who looked like she stepped out of a Baby Gap ad. But now that I have the benefit of some years and a little more wisdom, I have something to say to my younger self.
“You know what? Every time you consoled yourself with saying ‘It’s good enough’, you were wrong. It wasn’t just good enough. What you did? It was great.”
I can’t tell you how many times I have giggled my way through Target or the grocery store, checking out the get-ups on the toddler to eight-year-old set. Oh my Lord, is it entertaining. Cowboy boots and feather boas. Ninja turtles and light sabers. And of course the classic that never gets old, the little one who dressed ‘all by myself’ today, accompanied by the mom who is brave enough to just let it fly. Those moms made a loving choice to support their independent children.
I always told my husband in our early married days that I’d know when we’d arrived at financial stability. On that happy day, we’d be able to ditch the generic toilet paper (yes Virginia, there was such a thing as ‘generic toilet paper’) for Charmin, and we’d stop buying so many vegetables in a can.
That day did eventually come and it was a definite milestone. But it didn’t make our choices before that any better than the the new ones. We always made loving choices, and that’s what made it perfect.
Today, when I look at my life and the choices I make, I can feel like I did when I was raising my children. Well…They’re good enough. Certainly not great.
When I feel like that, I’ll look back on my younger days, when chaos ran the house, and my checkbook was lean. I didn’t see it then, but life was great. Those memories help me to understand that ‘great’ is never found in perfection. Great is discovered in all the parents and grandparents who make the best decisions they can everyday.
The smiles that result from the love in those choices change everything from ‘good enough’ to great.
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