When I walk in the room, my two-year-old is standing in the middle of a thousand shards of glass with his hand on a tablecloth we told him not to touch ten seconds earlier. "Did you pull the tablecloth?" I demand (while trying to use mental telepathy to keep his bare feet from deciding to run across the glass-covered tile).
"Sissy did it."
My son started talking in full sentences five weeks ago and learned to bear false witness about two minutes later. How did I mess this up? I've tried to model honesty and integrity to him since the day we met. He knows his sister's been downstairs for half an hour and couldn't have had anything to do with the broken glass. He sticks to his guns.
"Bud, did you pull the tablecloth and break the glass?"
"Sissy did it."
"Don't lie to me!"
"Sissy did it. No-no, Sissy."
This type of scenario plays out a dozen times a day at our house and often stirs up these deep emotions. I feel like I want to believe that my kids are better than what I see on a daily basis. I want to believe when the clerk at the store says my daughter is a "sweet little angel". Then I read the words of King David.
"Behold I was shapen in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me."
Now some people will probably say this is a reference to some scandalous relationship between David's mother and father. I honestly have no idea. But just taking it at face value complies with the Pentateuchal* concept of a fall from innocence. In other words: nobody's innocent. This is what I don't wish to believe.
My kids are perfect. Not like those brats at the store, or airport or Sunday School, or wherever else. They're tired. They're just exploring their surroundings. They're overstimulated. They're just being a KID.
Yes, they are. And they're standing there repeating a bald-faced lie over and over again.
*sigh* Et tu, Brute?
I want this to be like all those cards said at the baby shower. Or maybe like those Precious Moments figurines that blew up in the 80's. You know, where the kid is standing all red-faced next to a broken glass holding a handful of flowers up toward his mom 'cause he feels so bad and the figurine is called "The Smallest Apology...the Largest Love" or something of similar sentiment.
Are my kids very trusting, wide-eyed and inquisitive? Certainly they are, but that's about the extent of the dreamy perfection. The fact is--oh and how it pains me to type it--my kids have taught me at least as much about selfishness as they have the (so-called) innocence of youth.
Now that I'm a parent, every time I want to ball up my fists and demand to have things my way, I think a second time. How about considering Anne-Marie's opinion every now and again? And am I really going to lose my patience over things so trivial as waiting for someone else to have a turn, how "she looked at me", or what the ones who love me most ask of me?
Our hearts are like gardens. My job is to plant the good stuff. But weeds keep popping up everywhere without even trying.
* Pentateuchal just means "found in the first five books of the Bible". I kinda like "Genesisian" better.