Phew, we are not perfect, just real!
I write this having just survived by oldest son’s 21st birthday party. A great time was had by all, I think, but it was a huge job to organise and then to run. Nathan had people present who had known him since he was a baby, and others who have known him just since he has been at Uni. And there were lots of people in between.
We did do a few formal things, including having some speeches. My husband Matt gave one, as did a couple of Nathan’s closest friends. But the one that sticks in my mind and heart is the one given by my youngest boy, Patrick, who is almost 18.
Now he has never been a great public speaker, and it’s not something he looks to do, but he did agree to this. And it wasn’t what you would expect.
The thing about speeches normally is that they always say the good things, the great things about people and what they have achieved, how they are the best sportsman, the best at school, the best friend, husband, brother, son…. , in fact the person being spoke about is quite often, the perfect person.
But the problem is we are not perfect, none of us. We have our moments when we are less than perfect, we are less than perfect brothers, sons and definitely parents. What holds us all together is love.
This love is not the physical sexual love that can overwhelm us and is often driven by our hormones. Rather it is the deep seated love between people, between families, the love that connects us to one another. The love found as we travel the road of life together. The love that accepts slights and rudeness, laziness, and forgetfulness. The love which can get over the arguments that come when we disagree and the hurts that come when we feel neglected. This love is made of tough stuff, enduring and transforming. This love remains even when we aren’t perfect. For this love has within it forgiveness and renewal as well as connection.
So Patrick stepped up to do his speech. For him Nathan is not perfect, he’s a wild driver, has a temper which was on display during a surfing confrontation and is a bit lazy and egocentric, spending far too much time in the mirror for Pat’s liking. But in the end they are brothers, surfing and spending time together. They are brothers, but also best buddies. In the end there is love. Paddy even managed to say those magical words in public to Nathan, an achievement in itself for someone who is 17.
What I loved about the speech is that it was funny and real. Just like all of us. Not perfect, just real. And perhaps a little funny as well!