It was a big deal to this fifth grade girl when the movie Mary Poppins came out. My dad drove us into Baltimore City to the Hippodrome Theater where we waited in line to get our seats. What a night! I was mesmerized and so was Dad, who especially liked the chimney sweeps leaping over the rooftops of London.
When she took out her magical measuring tape, I learned that Mary Poppins is practically perfect in every way. Shouldn’t I try to be perfect too? (After all, who wouldn’t want to be just like Julie Andrews?)
I can make a list of imperfections longer than the string on Jane and Michael’s kite: hair, brains, house, figure, makeup, manners, cooking, nails, teeth, career, relationships, parenting, garden, directional skills, linen closets, handwriting, and on and on and on.
Why do I set the bar so high that even chimney sweep Bert would have trouble jumping over it?
Blame it on Mary P. Blame it on the media. Blame it on parental expectations. Blame it on comments from spouse and kids. Blame it on hormones. Blame it on the moon. Happily,I’m slowly learning that I can be content without being practically perfect (not that I ever had much chance anyway).
There comes an acceptance, I think, with menopause and mid-life. A realization that life really is short. Why waste it picking at your own self, of all people.
Toward the end of the movie, Mr. Banks figures it out in “A Man Has Dreams.” We have plans that get dashed. We don’t measure up. We’re not the woman or man we thought we could be.
Mr. Banks’s voice moves to a new tenor as he sings, ” A spoonful of sugar, that is all it takes/It changes bread and water into tea and cakes.”
I think I’ll take a dose right now. I’ll serve it up on the Mary Poppins spoon I ordered from the back of a cereal box in 1965. Then it’s on to a tea party on the ceiling. Later, I can scout out a chalk drawing to pop into (as long as nobody makes me dance. Majorly Imperfect Me cannot dance).
Thanks, Mary. You floated in on the wind and taught Mr. Banks and me some stuff. And if someone gets to measure up to be practically perfect, I’m glad it’s you.
The Kite: I promise you the kite flying finale will put you in a splendid mood.
Picture above of the super cool nanny is from Wikipedia.
Below is the practically perfect scene! I found it here.