The Little Things

A few weeks ago I got into a conversation about having children. A couple was still in contemplation mode about whether or not to have children and they wanted to know a bit more about the items I might put in the hypothetical “worth it” column.

Being a person who always knew she wanted children, my “worth it” column started when I was little, playing with dolls, rocking them to sleep and feeding them pretend peas. But I have a few friends without children, and I respect and honor that we all make different decisions. I look at their lives and find value and “worth it-ness” in their choices and the lives they’re forming, too.  I guess you could say I can find worth-it-ness on both sides of the coin.

The decision to have kids is one that I don’t feel I belong in at all….because I want everyone to make the choice that is best for him/her/them. But, I was prompted to think about this and give a real answer. It felt interesting enough to blog about.

Regardless of my moral dilemma, I was prompted to think about this and give a real answer. So I did. And even though I feel about 98% confident that my answer will change over the years, for right now, at this phase in our lives, here’s what seems to be capturing my heart enough to use as an argument:

I love watching how our children are learning to mimic facial expressions. I’ve noticed my sons often smile or look confused or tease me, and the looks on their faces are so HUMAN. I know that my kids are human, but they look like little adults, like professional homo sapiens who have translated expressions and gestures into real-life, fully recognizable and understandable meaning.

LM1 will say, “Are you kidding me?” or “Wait, that’s not right!” or “This should do it!” or “No, Mommy, that’s not right,” and he’ll make this face that tells me, “You are a weirdo, Mommy. Life is unclear and you need to explain yourself, immediately!”

The joy is that I can tell exactly what he’s thinking before he’s said it. But I cannot do this with many other people. Maybe my kids are more transparent than regular thinking, breathing adults.

I like to think I just know them.

Other times, LM1’s face tells me that he’s sad or disappointed before he reacts with the tantrum– the hazy, confused, raucous pandemonium that also tells me he’s sad or disappointed. LM2’s cries are now understandable. I get it. I look and listen, read his face, and somehow I get what he needs. It’s amazing.

There’s something strangely amazing about history repeating itself….

I guess you could say that this neat little trick isn’t enough of a reason to have kids. Because we have beloved family and friends to whom this may apply. And you’re right. So what’s the difference? What’s the big deal?

It’s the fact that the expressions they make are duplications of the ones my husband makes. And that is the most heartwarming, deliciously beautiful thing to see. It’s incredible and exciting and bewildering to see our children look like the man I love. And even that may sound silly. It may sound bizarrely minuscule in the grand scheme of beautiful blessings or things to fall in love with. But that seems to be what all of life’s greatest treasures are. They are small things that seem stupid when you say them out loud. And then when you feel them in your heart, their grand and mystifying perfection simply makes you smile a little bigger than you ever did before.

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