Some researchers came to Miles’ daycare today, and they tested him on a whole bunch of things – putting blocks into holes, hiding things under blankets to see if he can find them, etc. He nailed it – every task they gave him, he did. The researchers didn’t come right out and say that he’s the smartest kid they’ve ever tested, but they knew. Oh, they most certainly knew.
There really is nothing like the feeling you get when your kid does something cool. I used to think that the dad reveling while watching his kid play football or piano or give a speech was just trying to live vicariously through their child – to live the life they never could. And perhaps in some cases that’s true.
But in most cases I bet that’s not what is going on. The amount of joy I get from watching Miles solve a problem, push a chair across the floor, or recognize the word I’m saying is immense. No accomplishment I’ve ever had, no mountain I’ve ever climbed comes close to giving me the kind of joy I get from watching him say “baby” when he looks in the mirror.
It’s not that he’s doing something I wish I could – I’m actually pretty good at getting the square peg into the square hole. It’s not a feeling of living vicariously through him – it’s much more visceral than that. And there really is no comparison that does it justice.
I once tried explaining to someone that it’s like finishing a project and admiring what you created, multiplied by a billion – and realized about halfway through the absolute absurdity of what I was saying. Equating your child to a website or science fair project or nice dinner feels hilariously wrong. But it’s the closest thing I can think of. It’s not even a feeling of “look at what I made” as much as it’s “I can’t believe that he exists, and that I get to be a part of it.”
I never got much out of the concept of God as a father until I had a kid, but I think about it often now. I think about the joy he must get when he sees me treat my wife well or help someone or give with happiness. I think that the joy I get watching Miles read a book is a faint glimmer of the immense joy that God has for his people.
Especially when he watches Miles.