Christmas, Grrrls, Midway, The Inner Landscape

Secret Santa, or please don’t mention this to anyone…

Santa Light Princess belongs to a student group that will be having a Secret Santa Exchange tomorrow afternoon. She spent a long time deciding how to inscribe the tag, or rather the "From" portion.

The possibilities included

  • From: ?
  • From: S.S.
  • From: Secret Santa
  • From: Santa
  • From: Your Secret Santa

What worried her is that this is the Asian Student Association, and she's not sure how much the Vietnamese student whose name she drew knows about Christmas, because he's a recent immigrant.

She wanted to do the tag exactly the right way.

Sadly, I identify with this.

Oh, I'm not a fussbudget about tags anymore. I've come a long way from thinking I had to make them look as good as my mother's did, she of the beautiful handwriting. But I spend a lot of time examining my world and my work and feeling fairly certain that if I could just determine the right approach, all would be well.

This is, of course, a trap.

No, really. It is.

I never liked being told "Do the best you can." It felt like a command to always be the best, and I imagine it can also be heard as a limitation to a person who pictures her best to be on the low side of average. I've gone from being a kid who resented being asked to do well, as if that were the only reason I might be loved, to being an adult who strives to do well, as if that were the only reason I might be loved.

Yes, I see the problem there.

I suggested to LP, as I frequently do when I feel she is over-examining
her English homework or a social quandary, that she just decide and
move ahead. In some areas of life there are no perfect answers or
solutions. We stumble along in our full humanity, lacking secret
knowledge of who is actually naughty or nice, only knowing for sure
that we contain both, really we do.

If I could write a letter to a beneficent saint keeping a list and doling out gifts, I would request a flagon of anti-perfectionism this Christmas, flavored for mother and daughter.

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7 thoughts on “Secret Santa, or please don’t mention this to anyone…”

  1. Some years I moved into the idea from Winnicott, he the author of the Good Enough Mother – an idea that wove in “failure” as a necessary process that promotes growth and health –
    but also, I recently tried to do all the right things and still ended up failing miserably. So I’m back to thinking about “failure” as an important and necessary part of growth and health.
    Indeed, perfection is not the point, sometimes we just have to decide and move on, and see what happens.
    I hope, though, that this ends up being an occasion of grace for LP and not, uhm, a hard lesson.

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  2. I struggle with this too. Instead of saying I’ve tried my best, I am trying to say I’ve done something with care and grace. We’ll see if it works.

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