Sunday, July 15, 2012
Practically Perfect--by Erik W.
Baby toes are the most intricate, fascinating things I’ve yet to discover. These magical hinges can wiggle, stretch, curl, and fan. Baby toes are perfect, beautiful little things.
Here’s to you Joe DiMaggio
I first recognized perfection in a hospital in Miami. We were visiting a little girl in the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. Every single day of that two-year-old’s life her body had rejected and tried to destroy itself. After numerous operations and transplants she was surviving, living a difficult half-life supported by machines. Imprisoned in a hospital crib and shackled with tubes and wires, I was sure this little girl had nothing to celebrate in life.
Then she smiled at me, and wiggled her toes.
This little girl had the courage and audacity to enjoy her life and her body. Surely she was miserable, I thought. Surely she hated her body. Surely she had nothing to smile about.
In that moment I saw what a perfect little girl she was. Her sweet personality was nothing like her sick, struggling body, and yet that sad little body had defined and created her. She was so beautiful. Her body was immeasurably imperfect, the perfect capsule for her mortal voyage.
Making a Human
It took me a full week to discover my daughter’s toes. They’re amazing. I can’t stop playing with them. It’s getting in the way of work. I may have a problem.
Where did those sweet little toes come from? My wife made them. That’s right, she made them herself.
Building a human body isn’t an easy process, just ask my wife. The last nine months have been challenging for her. She was hungry all the time, she didn’t want to eat anything, she slept all the time, her body changed its shape from one day to the next. But at the end of nine months, we had a tiny little human.
Without any real thought on her part, my wife completely built a brand new human. What a wonderful thing! What a strange concept. I doubt I will ever be able to fully contemplate how the right molecules arranged themselves to become my daughter.
Nothing went the way we planned, but the process was perfect.
After almost 30 hours of labor, our midwife finally told us that a cesarean section was probably a good idea. My wife agreed, and our daughter was finally born, cut out of her mother’s body. My sweet wife suffered through that process.
Though we were both happy and grateful to have a healthy daughter, my wife felt great sorrow. She had worked so hard for a natural, vaginal birth, and her body did not give her what she desired. That experience with her body is now a part of who she is. Her body has changed her. Her perfectly imperfect body.
Listen, Learn, Love
My daughter’s body does not function perfectly, but it is perfect. My wife’s body did not perform the way she expected, but it is perfect. My gangly, skinny body has driven my personality and decisions throughout my life. My body has made me insecure, frustrated, proud, and capable. Regardless of its imperfections, my body is perfect for me.
Although our bodies are full of imperfection, they are perfect. Our bodies create us. Our bodies teach us. Listen to your body. Learn from your body. Love your body. It is more perfect than you know.