Monday, August 26, 2013

Love Thyself

As often happens these days, Bub and I were finishing up dinner last night together. HP had won a Bathtime Bonanza with Mommy, so that left the two of us, and a conversation quite typically bursting with WHY questions. I kept up for a while, then started to peter out. He could sense it. So I flipped it. But I wasn’t expecting this…

Bub: Why is HP taking a bath, Daddy?
Me: …
Bub: Not everything is a why question, Daddy.
Me: That’s true, Bub. But why? Why is not everything a why question?
Bub: I don’t know!
Me: Why don’t you know?
Bub: Ummm, because people are just talking.
Me: Why are people just talking?
Bub: Because people like to talk.
Me: Why do people like to talk?
Bub: People like to talk to HP and to Mommy and Daddy and Uncle Aaron.
Me: Why do people like to talk to HP and Mommy and Daddy and Uncle Aaron?
Bub: Because we just talk about stuff.
Me: Why do you talk about stuff?
Bub: Because it’s fun.
Me: Oh, good. Why is it fun?
Bub: Because I smile.
Me: Why do you smile?
Bub: Because I am happy.
Me: Oh…that’s…awesome. I’m glad you’re happy. Are you happy because you pooped in the big boy potty?
Bub: Noooooo. I’m happy because I LOVE myself.
Me: …
Bub: Are you crying, Daddy? Are you sad?
Me: No, Bub. I’m really happy.
Bub: That’s silly, Daddy. Why are you crying?
Me: Not everything’s a why question, Bub.

We spend all this time selfishly trying to get our kids to love us, wondering if they love us, encouraging and training and even bribing them to love us. Sometimes it takes a two year-old to remind us of the simplest things: Love yourself. Loving others is easy; it’s loving yourself that’s the tricky part. Some people never love themselves, while others fall truly, madly, deeply right off the bat. Bub might be one of these.

But I think for most of us, it’s a process. We finish our self’s sentences one day, then slash all of our self’s tires the next. But if you don’t, it’s never too late to learn. If you’ve forgotten, been too busy, or just flat-out ignored yourself, don’t worry. You self’s number hasn’t changed. It’s right where you left it. And it’s an equal opportunity employer. As Bub is fond of saying: “Don’t give up, Daddy. Try again, Daddy.” Thanks, Bub. I’m still trying.

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