Anytime one chooses a title like this, there are two immediate responses that they should be prepared for:
A. I don’t believe in God at all, therefore I find this essay irrelevant.
B. How do you know that the lessons you learned are the right ones? Infinite Being and all that…
These are more than fair.
But, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that certain features of fatherhood have enlivened my imagination- in a unique way- as regards what that Being might be like. These are five of my musings: [hr gap = “20”]
If I’m workin’ on you, it is best for you to be still. Clipping nails, braiding hair, removing a splinter, pulling a tooth- these are all moments where the danger of injury and level of pain is relatively low UNLESS your child thrashes. Ironically, the thing that escalates hygiene into hijinx is exactly a fear that “it’s going to hurt”- like many fears, it brings about its dreaded end. Kids, if only you knew that the person most worried about you being hurt…is me. [hr gap = “20”]
If you would just obey me, you would get everything that you want… and nothing that you don’t. Kids, you want donuts for breakfast? Dad is in! Only a supernatural being could have concocted a Boston Creme. You want donuts for EVERY breakfast? I’m out. I want to give you treats that don’t require further treatments. [hr gap = “20”]
Nothing makes me more upset than when you hurt each other. If you stub your toe, it makes me sad. But, there is a special type of torment reserved for the moments when you kids cause injury to your brother or sister. I love all of you fully, and I can barely stand the tension of fury mixed with compassion that burgeons in my heart when you take up arms against one another.[hr gap = “20”]
Even my anger is FOR you. See above. [hr gap = “20”]
There is no way that you could possibly understand the complexity of who I really am, but I still like it when you try.
Me: “How old do you think I am?”
It warms my soul. I especially like it when you try to measure, with hands so small, the breadth of my love for you.
Oh, and the questions that you ask: I hear what you’re really asking.
“Dad, when you were a boy did you ever get got by a red ant?” echoes to me as you trying to see my pain –to see whether or not I’m too big to hurt. To me, that is entirely beautiful.