Sometimes when childless people ask me how my sick child is, I can tell that they do not really care what the answer is. Or at least that they are completely unaware of what it's like to have a sick child. They are just being polite. I guess that's OK...I mean, they have no experience to inform them. But it's a strange sort of empty conversation. Only sometimes. Not all childless people.
Sometimes when I drop my daughters off at daycare I feel bad about leaving them there. I feel bad because as I hand them over to the extremely capable Peruvian grandmother who loves and cares for them, I feel like she is better at this motherhood thing than I am. And I feel guilty as a wave of relief rushes over me because someone else will be attending to their needs for a little while. And I feel bad because being productive while they are at daycare would justify their being there and yet I have a extraordinarily difficult time achieving that productiveness.
Sometimes when I get to watch my children without their knowing, I am rendered speechless at the incredible gift they are to me. The only gift in the world to come with an endless list of burdens and responsibilities...but still a gift that absolutely floors me with its goodness. I look at these little beings and am amazed by their words, their actions in the world, their pure potential, their simple approach to a complicated world. And this in turn often makes me think about how we all started out as children. Moms who yell at their kids, men who hurt children, people who steal, people who lie, cheat, damage, destroy. I know all the stuff about how to best prepare children to be successful and happy adults. But sometimes it seems like pure luck -- or pure gift -- that anyone makes it into adulthood whole and operational. How will these five people make it? We are trying to be good shepherds; will that be enough?