children and parents

Childless Woman: 'I Wanted That Suffering'

Photo by Reynardt/

Photo by Reynardt/

I was pretty sure my parents were insane when I was a kid. It never made any sense to me when they’d talk about how they’d rather have something bad happen to them instead of to me.

Well folks, that makes three of us, I guess. Being the good little narcissist, I agreed that I didn’t want anything to happen to me, damn the consequences to anyone else. We all go through that developmental stage; some grow out of it and others, not so much. It takes time, experience, wisdom and a broadening of perspective to understand that the avoidance of suffering, in itself, is not the end-game of life.

It’s even harder to understand suffering as a gift.

Joy's Shadow As New School Year Begins

My daughter attended her first day of kindergarten today. A poignant milestone dressed up in an exceptionally cute plaid jumper.

My wife and I thought we were pretty cool with it. Our daughter had attended preschool, after all, so this wasn't a major logistical change. She was excited as we dropped her off, said goodbye with a smile over her shoulder, then back to drawing in her new notebook.

We still thought we were cool with it after we signed up for PTA at the courtyard table. We ran into the local rabbi. My wife is pastor at a Lutheran church in town and they cross paths regularly. The rabbi's third child was starting kindergarten. He's an old hand at this.