Remember your first child? You know, the one who fell asleep in the shopping cart at Target during the Christmas rush? The one who jumped in bed before you got to "two?" The one who kissed you without your having to pretend cry? The one whose bibs went unstained under the threat of mashed yams? Remember him???
Just when you accepted either a) your chromosomal superiority or b) your (look out...) remarkable parenting skills, your second child springs from the womb yelling "no" and laughing while you try to snuggle his limp-bodied, kicking self into some semblance of the Willow Tree carving on the dresser.
"Oh, I'm sorry," you tell him, "I guess you didn't know that breaking all the glass votive holders was dangerous. That yelling 'Cookie!' the entire time we ate out (though you were, in fact, holding a cookie) was irritating. That shrieking 'Down! Down!' as I carried you from preschool every day was embarrassing. It should look like this: you kneeling beside my heart-shaped, featureless face while I tenderly stroke your wooden cheek. Yes, that's it! Isn't that what you meant to do?"
Then your second child locks eyes with you and smiles very dimply and peachy while reaching one toe into the street just a touch, just a little weensy bit. "Charlie!" you say, "No sir! Go to the naughty spot!" You wave your arms and squinch your eyebrows so the neighbors see you are not permissive or negligent or incompetent, though you yourself aren't really sure.
You scrutinize your care, your attentiveness, your goodness while he sits in time-out. You look at his tiny bean-of-a-self enduring this formality with the remorse of an artichoke. What am I doing wrong?
He grabs his wiggly feet and sings, "He ha da Whole worl in His han!" and "biddy biddy beebees, in his han!" until you realize the answer is nothing. What is flawed is the statue itself, because as moving as it seems, it isn't as delightful, as marvelous, as perfect as this stubborn, extraordinary soul.
God don't let me change him!
2 days ago