Perfection comes wrapped in imperfection.
Posted Apr 26, 2016
My wife and I push the twin beds together so our granddaughters, ages 5 and 6, can have a genuine slumber party. It has been a fun evening of baking and crafts and general silliness, and now I am huddled into the middle of these beds, surrounded by dozens of stuffed animals, dolls and other ‘friends’ that have filled seven bags for this one night sleepover. Both girls in their jammies now, Makayla is resting against my left shoulder and Gianna against my right. I am stretched out between them, basking in the joy of reading bedtime stories to my granddaughters.
They quiet down as I dive into a Berenstain Bears adventure. I glance at their feet, still so small, yet so much bigger than they were just a short while ago. There was a time when I never would have expected to be cuddling in bed with children, let alone grandchildren. So much of what happens in life, even when it is planned, turns into a surprise, a happening, a fortuitous serendipity. I then read one of many ‘Grandpa and me’ books that we have. I can feel the warmth of their faces against my arms. I smile at my wife. This, I realize, is as close to perfection as I can get. I close the book and am ready to read another, when Makayla says, “I don’t want to smell your armpit anymore.”
And there you have it.
Even moments of sublimity can have an odor. Perhaps that’s as it should be. Maybe the only ‘a-ha’ experiences worth having smell, a least a little. Maybe the imperfection in them is what makes them perfect.
I didn’t read another story.
David B. Seaburn is a long fiction writer. His latest novel is More More Time. He is also a retired family therapist and minister.