Same But Different - A Dad Chronicle
I grew up with two younger sisters and a brother close to my age. There were four of us in the house at one point and I sometimes don't know how my parents kept their heads about them. We were terrors to be sure. I mean, we didn't set the house on fire or anything but we did stretch the limit often and found ourselves frequently being mean to one of our siblings.
I'm sorry Amber, for charging you money to hang out with us.
When you grow up with siblings inevitably you find yourself asking your parents "which one of us do you love the most?" And every parent’s dodgy answer seems to be "I love each of you the same!"
When I was young I thought that was such a cop out! I mean the answer was only too obvious. Me ;)
I remember the day Awnna and I found out we were having twins. We went into the ultrasound tech's office and she began the process of finding what Awnna and I believed at the time was our one baby. She began her search and bam! There was Cora. I was floored and Awnna and I shared a look of contentment with weepy eyes. Then the tech said "let's see if there's another one in here"
Ha ha, I thought.
Then came these words, and the world stood still.
She grabbed Awnna's leg and said.
"Oh honey, I was only joking but there's another baby in here!"
Awnna and I looked at the screen and laid eyes on Jovi. Then we looked at each other and shared another special moment.
An "oh crap" moment.
Now don't misunderstand me here. Jovi was a surprise. A beautiful, exciting, frightening, and wonderful surprise, but a surprise none the less.
Four of a kind.
I picked my jaw up off the floor and Awnna and I shared a nervous laugh of excitement and feeling of "how are we going to do this?!?" We walked away from the doctors office a little shell shocked but the moment we got into our car things started changing. Almost immediately we started getting so excited at the prospect of two beautiful lives entering our home. All the exciting ideas and dreams began to float around inside that car as we talked and laughed and cried through this crazy experience.
Just add water.
A few weeks went by before my brain, thinking about something totally unrelated, shifts gears and posits the question,
“Which twin are you gonna love more?”
“You’ve got to be kidding” the other half of my brain cried out.
You ever do that? Stand by as a spectator while two different halves of your subconscience get into an argument?
Okay, I guess it’s just me. Thanks for making it weird.
But at that moment I began to worry about how my love was going to be split. Who would get the most of me? How do I love two kids, who are going to be totally different no doubt, the same? For months I wrestled with it, quietly on my own, feeling like a total jerk for even questioning my ability to love these two kids the same.
Love split down the middle.
Fast forward 7 months and I am about to walk into the NiCU and hold my babies for the first time. This thought of, who gets more of me hasn’t yet entered my mind. Right then I was only nervous about meeting and holding my babies.
So I sit down and the nurse hands me Cora, and I look at this beautiful child and I’m smitten. I would move mountains for this little one. She can have the biggest wedding she wants and I’ll gladly sign the bill if only to make her happy. She can be anything she wants and I’ll support her fully.
This little girl gets 100% of my love.
After a little over an hour I had to give Cora back and the nurse handed me Jovi.
Here comes the moment of truth.
I look down on this gorgeous baby of mine and I am in love. I would dive in the deepest ocean for her. At some point this little girl is going to ask me for something and the answer will be yes cause I’m a sucker and can’t say no. She’s going to have the biggest wedding and I’ll go broke. Her happiness is paramount for me. Whomever she becomes she will always have her dad cheering her on every step of the way.
This little girl gets 100% of my love.
Full disclosure, I was never any good at math. My worst subject by far. But I do know this. 100% plus 100% can’t equal 100%. And this is where it clicked for me.
Love breaks math.
Love is illogical.
Love is the enemy of Mr. Spock.
You see, for me, though, it makes complete sense. I can look at one daughter and say, “I love you the most” Then look over at my other daughter and say, “I love you the most”. I doesn’t make sense but love never does, does it?
I love both girls the same, but different.
There’s a unique love I have for each of them. A love the belongs only for that one daughter. Something the other can’t have. But both have it.
This is what my parent’s must have meant.
It’s not that easy to explain. I mean here I am rambling along trying to describe this phenomenon.
At times throughout my day I’ll peruse my Facebook feed to keep up with what’s happening in the lives of my friends and family. There are times when I’ll stumble across a politically or religiously overcharged post that pits one faction of people against another. It's posts like these that makes me wonder what the Father’s thoughts are on the subject. Now this isn’t to shame anyone. That’s not what I’m getting at.
What I’m getting at is this. I love my children dearly. Both of them the same but different. A unique love for them both and I’m a flawed man. A man who makes poor decisions and is selfish. But if I can love my children without warrant how does God approach those whom we cast to the fire?
There’s a children’s song about God that talks about his love with a line in it that goes like this;
‘Red, Yellow, Black, and White they are precious in His sight”
God’s passion and love for his children has no equal. His love is 100% for each and every person from each and every tribe, creed, ethos, background, foreground, religion, orientation, nation, tongue, and part of the world. He isn’t distinguishing or withholding love because to do so would not make him God. It would make him something else entirely. Some twisted and deformed deity who calls love a conditional recourse.
But love is not that way.
Love is bigger.
Love is unconditional.
Love is 100%.
For each and every person.
Love is the same but different.
So maybe this is a challenge to us all. As fathers and mothers. Friends and lovers. Brothers, sisters, and family. Let's treat one another in the same way I would treat my children. In the same way our father treats his children. With love, grace, forgiveness, and acceptance
Because although we may all be different.
We're still the same.