This is a rare, supplemental midday post, because I am sick to pieces of being referred to as a hatemonger because I am a faithful Catholic.
Among the tribe’s favorite pastimes is seeing what fits where. Examples of this pursuit range from figuring out how to get all the dominoes back in the box to figuring out how many stuffed animals will fit in a Hello Kitty lunchbox to trying to shove blocks into a toy that has only round holes. As long as they’re not doing anything destructive, I tend to let them test their theories of geometry; after all, both of their parents could be charitably described as “square pegs” themselves.
There are times, though, where I have to stop their explorations. Usually it involves imminent damage to a sibling’s possessions, as when, earlier today, Bugaboo got it into her head to stuff Beanie’s treasured Hello Kitty lunchbox (it came filled with Hello Kitty Pez dispensers, and yes, I am the idiot who bought it) with accessories from their many My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake playsets, then tried to force the clear plastic lid of an overstuffed container closed. Other times, a more metaphorical geometry is involved, as when they try to bend the rules governing acceptable behavior, either by sleight of hand or of language.
Because I love my children, I tell them, “no.” And I stand behind that “no.” I still love them, even when they make poor decisions, even destructive or hurtful choices, but part of that love involves me telling them, firmly and repeatedly, that while my love for them is steadfast and unconditional, their behavior is unacceptable.
Love does not mean saying, “if it makes you feel good, do it.” Love means teaching and enforcing boundaries, but doing so kindly and as gently as possible. Love means offering praise for wisdom and guidance for folly.
Love means understanding that square blocks may not fit in round holes, but that does not diminish their beauty.
My regular blog post will still go live at about 9 p.m. tonight. Thank you for indulging me.