Practically Perfect: Mary Poppins, Not Me

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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.

17 responses »

  1. I’m with your dad – they chimney sweep dance on the rooftops of London is my favorite, although I love when the sweep, Mary, and the children jump into the drawing on the pavement, too!

  2. My Practically Perfect in Every Way wife DID get the lyrics somewhat confused: “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” got turned into “Several spoonfuls of sugar (a/k/a dessert) helps the veggies go down”. All is forgiven however as I love dessert too.

  3. A spoonful of sugar indeed. Loved Mary Poppins – it was the first movie I ever saw too. And then we had the LP and my sister and I would stand it up and look at the pictures on inside cover while singing along to it. Ahhhhh – back in the day. Supercalifragilisticexpiallidocious —–do I seem precocious?

  4. I too, love Mary Poppins. It was the first drive in I ever went to! I used to come home from school and listen to the record every day (until I got the Grease record). I know every word to every song. I loved sharing it with my kids as well, although they always got confused with the title of the movie and called it Mrs. Poppins and I thought it was so cute I never corrected them. (Other titles they couldn’t quite get: HunderWonder-mations and The Rest of the Cats–can you figure out what movies those were supposed to be?)

    • Yep, and One Hundred and One Dalmations. Did you guys ever do that (not correct your kids because the wrong words were so much cuter)?

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