Wednesday, January 2, 2008
I love everybody who loves my kids
Thinking back through the holidays, I'm realizing I pretty much only like to be with people who like to be with my children.
I really hope that friends I had in the BC (Before Children) years did not have such a narrow focus, because before I had a child, I did not like anyone's children. I was not even that hot on the childhood version of myself and my brothers. While others idealized the innocence of childhood, I remembered being cruel, narcissistic, insensitive and judgmental. (Really, I was even worse in these areas then than now!)
So if you don't like being with my children, or anyone's children, and are just reading this to enhance whatever method of birth control you're currently employing, please, feel ye not bad. You've got sympathy here, my brother/sister. From there, only by the grace of God (and the instincts of parenthood) have come I.
It's just that, reviewing December, the common thread of all the people I really loved hanging out with was a genuine affection for my little girls. I never imagined myself choosing friends based on who my kids clicked with, and while that does happen, it's not what I'm talking about. I simply like all people--big or small, young or old, rich or poor, red, brown, yellow, black or white--who realize that Brielle, Melía and Ashlyn are priceless princess gifts from God, and who treat them as such. People like this are the Chosen Ones who get it, who've seen the Light, who stand in right relationship to the Truth that my girls RULE!
Can I get a witness?
No, but there really is a sort of religious fanaticism to this litmus test. Dig my daughters and you pass--well done thou good and faithful servant; here's your harp. Everyone else, weeping and gnashing of teeth for you; here's your accordion.
At first this seemed analogous to God's insistence that we love His Son, the whole "No man comes to the Father but by me" thing, which some Christians love to quote to prove that we are the only ones God really likes. (A strikingly effective way to endear people to the faith, don't you think?) And from that angle I didn't really like God or myself very much. Being so infatuated with one's begotten (even if it is the Only Begotten) that you doom all non-fans of the begotten to second-rate friendship or eternal alienation just didn't seem to be what Jesus would do.
But maybe that is the wrong angle. Maybe God's fatherly fixation is more on people loving His children--all umpteen billion of them who've ever lived. Loving Jesus is great, because it betters our odds of finding love for the Father. But surely God is more self-secure than I am and has less of a compulsive need than I do for folks to love his child.
Perhaps God and I are more alike in this way: We both have invested a lot of blood, sweat and tears in each one of our kids, and anyone who treats them as less valuable than we see them to be just doesn't fit in. We're both kind of nutty about our children; through the screaming and snot and poop, we see this beautiful perfection, this image of God, which may be more fantasy than reality. But we're passionate about that fantasy, and remember, we're nuts enough to believe that it might be real. And the more we get into our kids--the more that we give of ourselves to enrich them and show them love--the more fanatical we become about other people seeing them as we do.
Or, maybe it's just that I feel more comfortable around people who don't mind a half-full potty being brought out into the living room. I don't know.
But I do know this. My girls RULE. (Can I get an "Amen"?)
Questions I'm asking myself:
- How can I transfer my generous Dad's eye view of my kids to some of God's snotty, poopy, screaming adult children of whom I take a more dim view?
- Why are some people able to have so much love for children without having had their own, while others, like me, don't find that love until they are parents themselves?