Finding out your parents aren’t perfect is the continual process of leaving childhood behind and emerging into adulthood. Discovering that your parents are not the infallible beings you’ve always thought them to be is somewhat disheartening. For a split second, the perfect person you’ve always envisioned them to be disappears, and you’re left with someone as just as flawed as you are. But, just like in Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time, we learn that life is all about the lens we view it through. When we catch a glimpse of our parents’ flaws, we realize that they were never actually perfect, but the lens we’ve always viewed them with was.
My mom is a saint. I’m not kidding, she’s nearly flawless. Incredibly giving, she’s the kindest, most selfless person I’ve ever known. Her smile is infectious, her laugh inimitable. She never gets mad; in fact, I’ve never even heard her so much as raise her voice. She’s beautiful, funny, smart, hard-working, all the things you’d ever want to be. It’s no wonder I’ve idolized her my whole life. So when she dropped the f-bomb a few months ago, let’s just say my world was rocked.
My mom’s easygoing temperament can be detected from her very speech. The woman refrains from any kind of extreme language, never mind swearing. I remember being nervous the first time I used the word “hate” in her presence. Which is why I was nearly dumbfounded when she said the F-word in front of me. Of course, it was a moment of heated frustration. Her outburst was certainly warranted. Had I been facing a similar situation, I’m sure I would have said it a lot more than just once. But at that moment, I saw my mom in a completely new light. For the first time, she seemed human to me, not this near perfect saint I’ve always envisioned her as. The fact that she let down her (long held) guard in front of me, made me feel as though we reached a new, and deeper point in our relationship. Because my mom was willing to be so vulnerable with me, she showed how much she trusts me. Sharing her imperfections allowed me to become her confidant. For the first time, she came to me with her problems and frustrations, not the other way around.
When Meg, Calvin, and Mr. Murry need to escape from the evil grip of IT, and save Charles Wallace from permanent destruction, Meg is dumbfounded when her father does not have a solution for their problems. “You’re supposed to be able to help!” (165). Meg screams in a moment of frustration. She can’t fathom how her nearly perfect scientist of a father is just as vulnerable as she is. This moment helps Meg to see her father in a new light. She sees a flawed, human side of him that she has never seen before. But seeing this helps Meg to realize that no one, not even her incredibly smart dad, is perfect. Knowing this helps her to accept her own flaws, and embrace them as part of her being. Though she’s not the smartest, or the prettiest, she has the capability to love. And love, not intelligence or attractiveness, is the attribute she needs in order to save Charles Wallace.
Just like Meg, seeing my mom’s imperfections was jarring. But, the experience has allowed me to better accept myself and my flaws. It is empowering to know that the person you idolize most is just as flawed as you are. The love my mom and I share clouds the lens with which I view her. Her overwhelming goodness outweighs any spark of bad she might hold within. Neither she nor I is perfect, but the bond we share most certainly is.