The day my perfectionism broke my son’s heart

They’re gone, I can’t find them anywhere.” my son cried. All his handmade Christmas decorations were gone. Every one of them from grade school, all the little ones with his handprints, his pictures and immature handwriting. And it was my fault. My perfectionism caused this and broke my son’s heart. 

I wanted it Perfect

The day before we were decorating the tree in the living room  All my silver, gold and bronze ornaments twinkling in the lights. Then my son put his handmade decorations up. Right in the front of the tree! I felt horrified. My beautiful tree! The red and green handmade decorations subtracted from all my sparkly loveliness.  Son, why don’t we put them on the tree in your room? I had gotten small trees for the boys and girls room after Christmas sales just for that reasons. They could decorate them to their heart’s content and I could keep my beautiful color coordinated tree.” No, I made them just for your tree”, my son said. After coaxing and finally sternly telling him he could either put them on the back of the tree or on his tree he took them down. I did feel a little bad then but consoled myself with the knowledge that he would love them on his tree.


I spent the next morning while he was at school cleaning up, putting boxes away and throwing out the torn ones. He came home from school and after supper and homework, he asked me to help him decorate his tree. His ornaments weren’t there! I thought he had put them in his room. He hadn’t. He had put them in a box. The boxes had been stacked and went to the trash and so had his ornaments. I felt horrible. He felt horrible. My husband thought if I hadn’t been so fussy about the tree the ornaments wouldn’t be gone.

Gone Forever

The trash dumpster was empty. His ornaments have gone forever. His little kindergarten ones with his handprints, his little angel one with his picture. The ones made of popsicle sticks and all the rest. Gone. Just because I wanted a perfect tree. Why? I’m not perfect. This definitely proves it.


My son forgave me for throwing out his ornaments. It was an accident but still my fault. We are planning on making some new ornaments to replace what we can. I have pictures of when he was little. But it won’t be the same childish handwriting. It won’t be the same, period. But he gave me forgiveness.


So why is it so hard to forgive me.? I have berated myself over and over for this. I cried tears and my son cried tears. If only…. How many times do we say this to ourselves?  If only…I need to forgive myself. My son forgave me just as The Son has forgiven me. I am forgiven. I am forgiven. Do you have something you need to forgive yourself for? What has your perfectionism cost you? Be kind to yourself. Show love, not only to others but to yourself.

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Christina Renee

Hi, I'm Christina, a wife of 33 years, mom of 10 and grandmother of 3. I love to help other Moms with mothering, organizing their homes and routines. I've had a lot of struggles with illness having fibromyalgia and being an amputee. Talking to other moms with the challenges that bring and succeeding in spite of it.

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