“I’m tired of this whole scrapbooking thing,” Shara muttered as she walked to the kitchen cupboard and got a glass. She went to the fridge and got out the milk and the chocolate.
“Having a rough time with the layout,” her mom, Nicole, asked.
“Yeah. It just doesn’t look right. This scrapbook has got to be perfect. It’s for Marc’s birthday. I’m a thoughtful girlfriend like that.”
“What’s wrong with it?”
“It needs something else, but I don’t know what.” Shara stirred chocolate syrup into the milk and stirred. “Can you give me some pointers?”
The two walked to the living room and Nicole looked at the page. She picked up a couple of different shots and some frames, and placed them around the page. She frowned and moved them off.
“I think its fine like it is, honey.”
“It’s got to be better than ‘fine.’ It’s got to be perfect.” Shara adamantly refused to settle for less than the best. It was her greatest strength and her greatest fault.
“Shara, it’s beautiful. Marc will love it because it’s original.”
“But I want him to love it because it’s great. If he sees your scrapbooks, he’ll know I’m just a poser.”
Nicole looked at the page closer. “You know, you’re right. You shouldn’t have cut that picture like that. You should try a different background color too. That green is too dark.”
Shara looked at her mother with doubtful eyes. “That’s Marc’s favorite color. And I cut the picture like that so it could peek out of the “pocket” I made out of this other paper. I thought it was cute.”
“Well, it’s alright I guess. Maybe you could get Marc a new CD for his birthday or something. You know, just in case.”
“Mom, I’ve worked really hard on this. This is what I want to give Marc for his birthday, not some stupid CD. Forget it.” Shara turned to walk out of the room, but Nicole stopped her.
“Shara, sit down. Do you know what the beauty of scrapbooking is?” Nicole sat on the couch and patted the cushion next to her. Shara sat in the corner and hugged the throw pillow to her.
“It’s the fact that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Everyone’s pages are different. Just like everyone’s lives are different. The beauty is in the differences, the “imperfections.” There’s nothing wrong with wanting to do your best, but you get hung up with perfection.”
“It’s just a scrapbook, mom.” Shara rolled her eyes and laughed a little.
“Have you seen the first scrapbook I made,” Nicole asked.
“The one of you and Grandpa Joe? It’s my favorite. It’s fabulous!”
“No, it’s not.” Her mom reached to the coffee table where the scrapbook sat, and picked it up. She flipped open to the first page. “See this picture? I trimmed it too small and cut off Grandpa’s left arm. He looks like the victim of a botched amputation.” She flipped a few pages over. “See that line? I cut Uncle Jim’s head off and had to tape the picture back together.” Nicole laughed to herself, remembering her first attempts at scrapbooking.
“Mom, no one notices that but you. No one who looked at your scrapbook would see that.”
“But it isn’t perfect. I don’t anyone to see it.” Nicole closed the book and placed it back on the table.
“Mom, that’s silly.”
“No sillier than you not wanting to give Marc your scrapbook.”
“How?” Nicole looked at her pointedly.
“Well, it was something you did for yourself,” Shara answered hesitantly.
“I wanted mine to be perfect because these are my memories of my daddy. I’m glad he never saw it.”
“Grandpa would love it. You were such a Daddy’s girl.”
“And Marc will love yours. Just remember that sometimes the greatest things in life aren’t perfect.”
“Like what?” Shara raised her eyebrows.
“Like a cake that falls and has that gooey band in the center. Or that chicken pox scar.” Nicole touched the dimple in Shara’s nose.
Shara grinned. “That scar gives me character. No one else has one like it!”
“And no one else has a scrapbook like this one because no one else is you. Relax and enjoy it.” Nicole stood up and ruffled her daughter’s hair. “Know what? It’s my night to cook and I was thinking Pizza Hut.”
“That sounds perfect—I mean great!”
“I think ‘perfect’ works this time.”
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