Thursday, December 07, 2006
A bird in hand
Today’s painting is The Holy Family with a Little Bird by Murillo. At fist glance, it may seem that Jesus is doing the “boys will be boys” thing and teasing the dog by holding the bird above his head. But in fact – as with most paintings of Jesus as a child – the scene is meant to foreshadow the atonement. The bird is a symbol of the soul, and Jesus is saving it from destruction.
I love Murillo’s depiction of Christ. With his smiling, angelic face and the way he leans back into the arms of Joseph, he embodies the pure joy of life and trusting nature that I see often in my own children but rarely in myself. This need for childlike qualities – something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately – is the topic of my Thursday Thirteen list.
13 traits I admire in my children
“Mom, I hope you’re not offended but this casserole is super gross.”
My kids share everything with me: their Halloween candy, the last donut in the box, their colds, their secrets, their big plans for the future, their favorite Calvin and Hobbes lines, and their infectious love of life.
3. An easily triggered sense of humor
It takes some earth-shatteringly funny überwit to make me laugh out loud in a movie. My kids? Give them some fart jokes and a sarcastic koala with a British accent and they’re watching cinematic gold. I really need to lighten up. I’d probably enjoy movies more. And my kids more. And their farts too.
4. Keen vision
“Hey, why is my Your-life-is-not-complete-until-you-buy-these-new-Lego-sets! catalog buried under piles of newspapers and rolled up and tucked inside a cereal box at the bottom of the garbage?”
In an effort to make their own mundane lives a bit more radioactive, my boys can turn a meal of green beans and lasagna into “spent fuel rods” and “Chernobyl wreckage.” If Ethan is holding Nora when she spits up, I get to hear this: “BOOP! BOOP! Warning, Warning. Toxic spill detected. Activate containment cloths.”
6. Quickness to forgive
As much as I try not to hold grudges, I can still remember offensive remarks long after their sting should have worn off. My kids on the other hand are happy to forgive and forget. (Which is a good thing for me since it’s often me doing the apologizing.)
One day McKay started crying while reading a Harry Potter book. He was a little embarrassed, but he finally admitted that he felt sorry for Hagrid. Aw, how sweet. I think this kind of unconditional empathy (even for big hairy fictional characters) is one the first things to go when we “grow up”.
8. Trusting nature
My sons actually believe everything they read on cereal boxes. “Mom! Look, it says I get 100% of all these vitamins when I eat this. I could just have cereal for every meal.”
9. And not coincidentally, trustworthiness
In a world run by children, your cub-scout promise would be your bond.
10. Attunement to the supernatural
These may look like you everyday run-of-the-mill wadded up baby wipes, but to Gabriel, they are genuine angel brains.
11. Scientific inquisitiveness
Actual lab notes to Nora’s recent experiments: “What will happen if I drop this spoon onto the floor?.....What will happen if I do it again?.....and again?.....and again?....and again?”
12. Flexibility (figurative)
My kids can fall asleep in their beds, or in the van, or in a tent, or in a trailer, or in a boat, or at Grandma’s house, or with a mouse, or in the rain, or on a train…
13. Flexibility (literal)
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Posted by Julie Q. at 5:20 PM