I take offense to "Push Presents." They seem crass to me. The name alone implies that the woman is owed payment. Well, excuse me, but didn't they make that baby together? Was she strong-armed into having a baby and now he must make amends to her? Has he been such an ass the whole pregnancy that the very least he can do is dangle some materialistic bauble in front of her as some form of payback for her hard work?
The whole concept fills my head with the image of a petulant Scarlett reclining in her bed while Rhett swoops into the room and claims the baby as his, declaring he will spoil his daughter as he sees fit. It's very territorial and not even partially romantic - not to mention void of any sense of parenting as partners. It's the King presenting his not-really-beloved Queen compensation for presenting him with an heir. Ick.
Frankly, had my husband given me a "Push Present," I would have been deeply offended. We actually talked about it with each child - and we have three children that I pushed out without any pain meds at all, whatsoever. I said it then and I say it now that a "Push Present" would make me feel as if I had performed a service for him, that I was merely the vessel to carry his spawn and deliver it to him as a courier would deliver a package. I felt then, as I feel now, that we chose to make our baby to add to our family.
Maybe I'm just testy after listening to my friend carry on about possible (very expensive) options for her "Push Present." She and her husband are expecting their first child. She reminds me of a greedy 8 year-old gunning for the best-ever Christmas gift. I find it nauseating and frustrating.
I have other friends and several relatives who received "Push Presents." With only one exception, every last one of them behaved as if she were owed something. The one exception asked for a very sentimental accent to a very sentimental article. Somehow that seems different than getting a personal trainer or a set of rubies or a pricey weekend out-of-town with girlfriends or a new car. Where the hell do these people get that extra money, anyway? Intentionally acquiring something so singularly personal seems emblematic of a very selfish nature. Why the hell am I hanging with such selfish chicks, anyway - except family, no choice there.
Maybe it's just me for thinking the baby is the gift. Maybe it's just me thinking that adding to our family is gift enough. Maybe I'm just simple for assuming that my husband also had a long nine months with my mood swings, baby health scares, worrisome visits to specialists, bed rest, and did I mention moodiness? Actually, it was more than nine months when counting the emotional months of trying to conceive. Why on earth does he owe me a gift (from our money, by the way) for the culmination of our journey. I wanted the baby, too. Maybe I would feel differently if these women didn't plot their acquisitions, but were merely surprised by something sweet and sentimental?
I don't know. Maybe I'm too simple to understand. Judgmental rant over. Carry on.
Lately, I have wondered about how we love one another as Christ loved us. How do we love one another even when we have deep, fundamental disagreements? An Upper Roomdevotional talks about loving one another. Impeccable timing, Lord. The author discusses loving each other with the love of Christ. We are to love others, even those who persecute us. Our love of Christ ought to inspire us to love one another with the love Christ has offered us. It sounds simple enough as a statement, yet proves challenging as a practice.
What I've been wondering, exactly, is how we love one another without assuming the position of "forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do." While I have studied Luke 23 and understand ways to apply the knowledge to my life, in some circumstances it feels inappropriate and possibly condescending. How do we love those with whom we vehemently disagree without condescending to them in our love? Do I love those with whom I disagree or do I love them in a "bless their little hearts" kind of way?
I don't wonder about this in my daily life. My friends are a fair mix of political persuasions, yet I do not struggle to love them in spite of their convictions. Now, obviously I'm a Conservative. Seriously, you don't call yourself "The Right Girl" if you're a liberal wing-nut. I have several very good friends who are liberal. In fact, a couple of them consider themselves to be "bleeding heart liberals" and joke they have never met a cause they couldn't cry over or protest. I love these friends and my life wouldn't be as rich without them, even though I think their politics are borderline bat-shit-crazy questionable. And, I'm sure they feel likewise. Despite our differences, we are lovely to one another and get along fabulously. Loving them and other people in my in-person, daily life is not what challenges me.
What challenges me is loving from afar. I am finding that in our current political climate, the rage and insanity out there has multiplied. Yes, there was frothing at the mouth during the Bush Administration, but the Obama Administration has only served to ramp up the rabid behavior. Maybe it's all the hyperbole in calling everyone who disagrees a racist? Maybe it's the lack of decorum when addressing the issue of candidate's children? Maybe the decades-old tactic of calling one's opponent has reached maximum pressure? Maybe we've left all reason behind as a culture and the web has only served to exacerbate the insanity?
Whatever it is, I struggle to extend the love of Christ. I recognize this post begs the question "what is the 'love' of Christ," but today I don't feel like dancing around that question. I don't know if my frustration can be alleviated by a discussion of the meaning of Christ-like love. In my current frustration, it would feel like discussing what "is" is and I don't have the patience for that nonsense.
What say you? How do you address this issue of loving others with whom you have no personal contact? What mantra loops in your brain and prevents you from riding off on your high horse on the high ground?
A friend's marriage is disintegrating. It is awful. What started out as her husband's request for counseling has turned into him moving out on a "temporary" basis. Can someone please explain to me how leaving one's wife and children "temporarily" is actually helpful in the restoration of a marriage?
She said something the other day that has bounced around in my mind. Aside from the plethora of issues they face, she said neither of them ever saw their parents fight, much less reconcile. She said it has taken her a long time to realize that maybe the example her parents and his parents modeled did not actually help them learn how to moderate their marriage. She never saw that it was okay to argue and figure stuff out and that it was okay to do so in front of the kids. She said she never realized how much she didn't learn because her parents never modeled how to fight and how to reconcile. Her husband had a very similar experience.
Her parents didn't want to fight in front of the kids. His parents didn't want to fight in front of the kids. I keep thinking that if Darling and I never argued in front of the kids we would never talk. With three children, two cats, and a dog, we're busy. The opportunity to go into our room, close the door, and hash out our testy business doesn't often present itself.
Is this how (or one way) a marriage falls apart? Things get bottled up and repressed and put on the back burner until you have a moment to talk, but that moment never comes? Is this how my friend and her husband never checked in with each other emotionally? Is this how, after a decade of marriage, they are looking at each other, each professing they made decisions to make the other one happy - only no one is happy?
Charles Krauthammer's current column spells out much of what I have wondered. How did we get here? When did it become acceptable for the separation of powers to be blurred into a oneness that allows the Executive and Judicial branches to legislate? Is that not the Constitutionally-stated power of Congress?
The sobering question is "where do we go from here?" Do we require our government officials to adhere to the Constitution or do we continue to focus on our personal lives and Facebook? Where do we go from here? That's my question.