Loving the imperfect

I've had something I've wanted to say for a while back. And when I say a while, I mean over ten years.

It's a frustration I have and I guess its a society or culture gripe, an issue with perfection and how we perceive love to be.

It's hard to explain, to summarise, but in short, I find myself wanting to shout out:

"Someone, something, doesn't have to be perfect to be loved"

I can't stand it when people confuse loving someone as being unable to accept that person's imperfections.

For example, when I talk on my blog about how parenting is hard. How sometimes my kids do or say things that have the power to hurt. Or the repetitive conversations about poop are just annoying.

I'm being honest. About the good and the bad, the highs and lows.

But that doesn't mean that I don't love my kids. My goodness, I love my kids so much there is nothing I wouldn't do to keep them safe. Basically, it should go without saying. I love my kids to death.

Admitting that they sometimes drive me crazy, that they have their faults, does not mean that I love them any less. I could never love them less.

Or another scenario and I'm sat with a friend lamenting my husband's housework-dodging habits. My husband is not perfect. But that doesn't mean I don't love him, that he doesn't take my breath away, that I don't want to be with him until I'm old, grey, wrinkly and grumpy (grumpier).

And then we come to a biggie. When someone dies and, perhaps out of some misguided respect for the dead, we refuse to acknowledge that whilst they lived they had any sort of imperfection.

I struggled when my dad died because no one could, few still will, talk about him as a whole person. Almost as though by dying, he has morphed into someone with zero imperfections.

"He never did anyone any harm"

"He never did anything wrong"

"He didn't have a horrible bone in his body"

Blah blah blah. What utter rubbish. He was human. Humans make mistakes. Humans say horrible things. Do horrible things.

Over the years, living with him as a (non-violent) alcoholic, as a Dad of young children, as a son and as a brother, as a partner, I saw most aspects of my Dad's personality. I certainly saw aspects of him I disliked.

But that doesn't mean I didn't love his whole.

Who cares if a bone in his little finger was riddled with petty thoughts. If he ran over a cat (accidentally, obviously). If he took drugs. If he was sometimes selfish or materialistic.

He was my Daddy and I bloody loved him. I loved him then and I love him still.

I had a friend a while ago whose child was always misbehaving. Seriously misbehaving. Hitting, biting, kicking. They'd throw horrendous tantrums whenever they heard the word 'no'. It got to the stage where I was embarrassed to go places with them and I was worried for my own child's safety.

And yet, he was just a little boy, and he could be sweet, loving, adorable. I cared for him even though he wasn't my child. I know his Mummy loved him. Of course she loved him.

But she felt that by telling him off, by disciplining him, by accepting it was his fault, that she wasn't loving him. She deluded herself into thinking her son was an angel and that his behaviour was always down to someone else.

It made me wonder if she would feel the same way if that image was completely stripped away.

I refuse to do that with my children. I will love them wholly as they are, warts and all. I love them even when they are shouting. I love them when they are refusing to nap. I love them now and I always will.

I love my husband even when he's left the washing up residue in the sink or when he insists on using the loo just before I want to relax in the bath...

To only 'love' them by pretending they are perfect is to do them a disservice. I can't do that. I don't want to do that to anyone. I want to love their 'perfect imperfections'. I want all my friends and families know that even if they're an asshole sometimes, I still love them. That the good outweighs the bad.

And I need to know that they love me too. For who I am.

Don't pretend I'm a saint. That I'm wonderful all the time. Admit that sometimes I am a moody bitch. That I'm annoying and a bit of an idiot at times. If I died tomorrow, feel free to talk about the bad times as well as the good, I will not haunt you for being honest, promise.

Love me, even if I'm not grown-up enough yet to enjoy a glass of gin and tonic.

You don't have to always like me. I don't always like myself!

But don't make me into something I'm not, even if that person is 'perfect'.

I'll love your imperfections. You can love mine. And we'll have none of this rubbish of pretending to be something we're not.

We're human. And that's enough.

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