Wow. I love this little girl.
Don’t get me wrong – I love the other 2 as well. And I’ve heard parents say before that there are fears of “not loving the next one as much as this one” (especially after the first), but that you “just do” love them and it’s amazing. Between the first 2 I never really lived in those fears much, I loved them both from the start in very similar ways. I read once that having multiple children required you to teach your heart to expand, not divide. I thought that was neat.
But this morning holding C I was struck by how much I loved her and how little that had to do with how much I love the others. Mutually exclusive. And then I got to thinking how I just “do” love her, and each of them, because… well, because I love them. I was briefly tempted to try to siphon out “why” I love each of them so… but it struck me that I don’t love H for his boyish, playful qualities or M for her giggles and curiosity and desire to be like the big kids, or C for her sweet and innocent stature. I do find those qualities endearing, but they’re not the source or the cause of my love. I simply love them because it’s what I was created to do. It’s in the operating system.
It made me reflect on God’s unconditional love**. I’ve heard the phrase a million times, plus one. But today I began to see, in a small way, a much larger truth about what that means. God doesn’t love “in spite of” my lackluster qualities or “because of” my more marketable skills. He just loves because that’s how the system is built. I honestly feel that there’s not a way for me to not love my children (and I feel most, if not all parents agree)… and I anticipate that God might share a similar sentiment.
(**Ed note: I’m not one that believes that Parents hold some sort of upper-level right to new insights about God that non-parents aren’t privy to; I view it more like this: God is an elephant, much too large to fully see and understand when you’re close. So you’re familiar with parts, and new life experiences expose us to a new view. Sure, becoming a parent might bring you to a new angle, but so does living a life of service to the poor, living in another country, or as a nun. No particular look at the elephant is any “better” than the rest, it’s just simply different. Today I appreciated a new look at say, a toenail.).