G.K. Chesterton once wrote, “The fascination of children lies in this: that with each of them all things are remade, and the universe is put again upon its trial. As we walk the streets and see below us those delightful bulbous heads, three times too big for the body…we ought always primarily to remember that within every one of these heads there is a new universe, as new as it was on the seventh day of creation. In each of those orbs there is a new system of stars, new grass, new cities, a new sea.”
I wish that I could keep this in mind always. Sometimes I find myself expecting too much of my children. Expecting that they are more grown up than they are. Both of my girls have very extensive vocabularies for their age and sometimes that tricks me into thinking that they are more mature than they really are. Occasionally, my wife has to gently remind me that everything is new to them. And, just as when they learned to walk, everything is a gradual process; from that first tentative step to eventual mastery. Some things, like walking, they will master quickly. Others may take half a lifetime to master. From September of 2003 (the month and year of my oldest daughter’s birth) I have made it my primary mission in life to be a great father. It’s my job to help my children discover that new universe and to grow up contributing to their world and to grow up to be and do good. Some days I do better than others. Some days I feel like a failure. Some days are wonderful beyond description.
I remember vividly the first time I held my daughters a few minutes after they were born. It is one of those memories that is seared into my mind. I can see every detail as clearly as if it happened yesterday. Before I saw them, I never understood that it was possible to instantly love someone so completely and unconditionally. I hope as my children grow older that I can always keep that image in my mind.