Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I had a chat with a friend of mine today, about God-given gifts. I do believe we are given these gifts by the Divine. And then I sort of think that the Divine sits back, grabs a cold beverage, and waits to see what we'll do with them. (Rooting for us all the way, of course.) Let's just say I don't believe that the Gifts come with receipts for exchange or return.

So. God-given gifts. Turns out my gift is the capacity for great love. (Not great lovin'. Although maybe that too. I just haven't had enough wine to blog about it.)


Great Love.

This is the space in your heart to love someone - be it spouse or friend or sibling - with the depth and breadth of all emotion. Maybe it could be described as Super Loyalty: an unfailing belief in my people, regardless of missteps, ill-chosen words or outfits, even the most awkward of moments. (What? Kiss me and then vomit on my new shoes? No, I'm sure you didn't. I don't remember that at all!)

But this capacity for love can be crippling. Because to love that much? It hurts. And it is never more painful than when you are watching those you love grow, change, and do all the painful things that humans must do to become more - to get bigger according to the Existential Size Chart of The Universe. It hurts to be along for the ride, even if you're not the one doing the growing that particular day. Did I ever tell y'all about the year I grew 8 inches and woke many nights with searing pain in my limbs, as I literally felt my legs stretch into a 34" inseam? These are the same searing pains, just in your heart.

But equally, when you experience love this deeply, you will also live with transcendent joy. You will feel the moments of gut-busting pride, the seconds of evanescent enchantment when happiness trumps all, when dark and sad and bleak become mere grease stains on the hem of delight's napkin.

Come Monday, I will put my eight year old on the bus. I will send her to a new teacher, and trust my girl's sensitive loving heart to go out in the world and come back intact. Then, I will take my five year old and my two year old by the hand and we will walk a trail and look for the first signs of autumn, and I will show them "how this life became a miracle to me."

I came across this Dar Williams song this week - a friend posted it and commented that ''this is for all those parents sending their child out into the world this week."

Again and again the chorus muses "so when they ask how far love goes/ When my job's done, you'll be the one who knows."

This is what I do with my gift: I show them how far love goes.


Joya said...

Love. This. Thank you. Seriously it is 2:14am and I am awake in bed bc of a baby growing inside of me. Kicking this very minute. I thought about this the other day while feeling these kicks- "does this baby know how much it's loved already?" and I too will be sending my two other children to school in a short while and this is how I feel.

Jen C said...

It's so hard to send them off. But wherever they go, they always have a loving home to come back to.

Wishing you all a wonderful school year!

katdish said...

There are days when I wish I didn't love so much, because you're right, it can be so painful to feel so much. But I don't think I care for the alternative. Both my kids are tender-hearted. It scares me at times because I know they will hurt, but I also know they have a great capacity to love, and I pray they will end up with partners who will appreciate this.

Cheryl said...


hezro said...

Wonderful, as always.

(P.S. I have a 34 in inseam too. When I was *ahem* thinner, I could wear the same jeans as my 6'4" husband. He's only got...what?...8 inches on me?! And let me just point out that it's particularly offensive when your husband who is 8 inches taller is ALSO thinner to boot. Not cool. *grumble, grumble*)

kirsten said...

Yeah I know all about the Skinny Husband Syndrome Heather. Sucks, doesn't it?? But wait - does that mean you're 5'8" AND a 34" inseam?? That's some long legs lady!

Harold of Scaggsville said...

Love your children and your spouse so much that it spills over to other people they come in contact with.

carin said...

oh i just love dar williams!

Marit in Norway said...

Beautiful post, Kirsten! I wish someone had prepared me for the hurt that comes with the pride and joy as my children reach new milestones and change. It's gut-wrenching in so many ways and at the same time such an enormous privilege to witness these little people grow! Phew - no wonder parenting is so exhausting!

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