Is there really such a thing as perfection?
Or is striving for perfection like chasing the impossible dream?
Personally, I think there are moments of perfection. Then after that, well, life can be flawed. But flawed can be interesting too, and let's face it, we would be wise to accept that sometimes life and plans misbehave.
Alas, I'm a sucker for perfection. I often conjure idyllic visions in my head, and guess what? They often bring me back down to earth with an almighty, ungracious bump.
For instance, when we invite guests to our home for a summer barbecue, I take the planning and visualising very seriously.
Like last Saturday. The occasion had been noted in my diary for ages, Shell and Steve and girls for barbie. Therefore, I had been very busy with lists of food to purchase, even a separate list for plates and bowls to use for purchased food. (The hand painted bowl from Portugal for the pasta, the pink tubs, decorated with delicate roses, for the strawberry ice-cream, etc, etc.)
The night before the big event, I cooked the pasta, and prepared the most exotic salad I have ever prepared (rocket, with couscous, feta cheese and butternut squash) and merrily ticked things off my list.
Merrily is indeed the correct word. So excited was I to be entertaining the next day, and praising myself for my organised status, that I kept pouring 'just one more glass of wine'.
The result? I went to bed far too late, fairly squiffy. Therefore, woke up very tired and a little fuzzy headed, not ready to fight another day at all.
I was disappointed with myself. I had imagined another early morning, feeling revitalised, and watering the purple flowers in the tranquil garden, whilst the birds were singing their dawn chorus, and most of the street were still sleeping.
Instead, I sat in bed with Tommy and hubby for ages watching Noddy and other such delights, until I couldn't put it off any longer. I had to get up and begin the day.
Of course I then started to panic, fearing there wasn't enough time to clean and organise and create a great ambiance for our guests.
And Mark's gout was playing havoc with his right foot. It was the size of a small balloon, extremely red and excruciatingly painful. Poor Mark. And bugger, he could't start and keep guard of the barbecue whilst I was cleaning/organising/hosting/looking after Tommy.
I was starting to get that sinking feeling.
Next, a freaky gust of wind blew the umbrella from our garden table, and umbrella stand snapped!
"Brilliant!" said I. "Now our guests have no shade and will burn to death!" I can be prone to bouts of drama whilst stressed.
But that's not the worst part. I was running around the kitchen like a headless loony, and in my clumsy state, I dropped a glass jar on the stone floor.
It smashed into tiny pieces. Tommy, thinking he was helping me, picked up a piece of broken glass.
"No!" I screamed.
Too late. Tommy bled for the first time. A lot. He was absolutely fine about it. I, on the other hand, was trying not to cry. I guiltily held his little finger, and called my mum. I needed to check if we should take him to the hospital.
We didn't take him to the hospital, but it was a close call. I had to swallow a headache tablet as my anxiety levels were sky high and my head was now thumping like a kangaroo on acid.
Just before our guests arrived, I placed bunting, cushions, candle holder, picnic blanket, children's tent, children's tea set and toys on picnic blanket, milk bottles filled with summer fruit and pink straws, in garden, and tried to relax. I remember thinking, I could still pull this off.
Despite the fact we had to ask if our guests would mind arriving an hour later than scheduled, due to Mark's gout and Tommy's finger, and despite the fact the barbecue was not a barbecue, I had to cook the food in the oven and frying pan, it was a lovely afternoon.
Then we all went down the pub.
In the tent.
Playing in our garden.
Pub garden. I bought bubbles and cars for the kids to play with. Here's Tommy and Freya sitting by the brick wall.