Hi, my name is Beth, and I am a dreamer — a chaser of perceived perfection.
I’ve had this affliction since I was a little girl. Always dreaming of the perfect friendship, the perfect party, the perfect wedding, the perfect family, the list goes on and on.
I call this an affliction because I often think we set the bar so high that, even on our best day, the dreamed up result simply isn’t achievable. We set ourselves up for “failure” when, in fact, what we have is greatness — if only we could open our eyes to see it.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve realized that I have exactly what I always wanted (or, more importantly, what I really needed) as soon as I stop looking for it.
Yet, still, I find myself setting expectations for how I think life should be instead of just enjoying what life is.
Case in point: I became an aunt on Sunday. Nothing about it was I dreamed it would be.
In my head… I created a day where the whole family was together to hang out in the waiting room; to congratulate my sister and brother-in-law; to support them as they waited for her release; to help them get settled in at home; and to photograph the whole process for them to treasure for years to come.
In reality… I got a call from my mom at 6:30 telling me that my niece had been born at 4:30 that afternoon; that my parents were sitting in a hotel room waiting for more information; and that they would call again later. Then, at 10:30, I got another call that they’d gone to visit for about thirty minutes, but were back at the hotel; that my sister was on her way home where they were going to sleep on what to name the baby; and that they wanted a week or so to settle in before having visitors.
Poof! Just like that, it had happened. And, I missed it.
I was so filled with mixed emotions that I almost didn’t share this story.
The next morning, though, a funny thing happened. Several months ago, I finally planted the Tricky Thyme that my sister so thoughtfully gave me for Christmas. Just as I feared, for weeks now, I’ve been convinced that I was going to kill thyme. I watered it, moved it around, fertilized it. Still, nothing. Given my not-so-great track record in the green thumb department, I had pretty much given up hope.
But, overnight, while my sister was welcoming her newborn baby girl into their home and settling in to her new life, the thyme bloomed.
Say what you will about karma, fate, or the existence of a higher power. When I think about the pot filled with tiny little green buds of new growth, I can’t help but feel like everything happened exactly as it was meant to be….
My sister and her daughter are healthy. The delivery was fast and complication-free. She gave birth in the birthing center with her birthing music in the background and her husband by her side. They peacefully returned home without a lot of fanfare, which allowed them to savor every minute of it. And, even though I wasn’t there and nothing was as I expected it to be, I was still touched by new life.
Today, when I reflect on what this experience must have been like for her, I am filled with joy. Perhaps, if I hadn’t set such lofty expectations, it wouldn’t have taken me three days to get here.