I’ve gotten ahead of myself with that last entry, and in my effort to tell a professional story, I missed the personal. At least now I’ve constructed the context into which the following falls:
I never really wanted to marry. Just wasn’t interested. Until M. (aptus)
She and I, initially, weren’t interested in having kids. We agreed, “We’re fine as just us.” Honestly, she graduated past that before I did. She was ready to start a family while I was still pushing for us to do some pre-children traveling. And then the youth pastor at church here in Conway had a son. I watched as he aged from an infant to a toddler, and from a toddler to a little boy walking around with his dad. Suddenly I was ready for that. We became pregnant in 2000 and during this pregnancy we three flew to D.C. for the CLS conference mentioned in “dejavu.” Getting around and taking trips while preggers is much easier for men than it is for women. I know – I’m not the one who was pregnant – but consider Ephesians 5:
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a] 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
If we are one flesh, aren’t we pregnant together? I had morning sickness. “When Mama ain’t happy nobody’s happy” . . . right? We were pregnant. We went to the doctor together, ate together – ok I know I didn’t do everything she did – thank God, but I did all I could possibly do, I think. That’s how I remember it anyway.
On February 25, 2001, Corban Thomas Hogue was born. I cut the cord.
“Corban” is Hebrew for “gift devoted to God.” It is used in a negative context in Mark 7:11, and that is the only time the word is found in the Bible, but it still means what it means.
It’s funny how when you have no children people tell you, “Your life will never be the same. . .” and you take that lightly. We always acknowledged the words and recognized that life would change, but we had no idea. They were right. The eighth, or maybe the first, wonder of the world should be recognized as the change of a person’s life upon the birth of the first child.
You are no longer your own. Even if you can justify self-neglect or self-harm, or self-abuse, that will hurt the child now. You maintain health and fitness at first to sustain the child, and then to keep up with the child, and then to survive the child, and then to meet the grandkids (I expect).
You no longer question your value. If depression or some other source claimed that you were worthless before, you have an argument to trump that upon the presence of someone who depends on you as a child does.
It’s harder to ignore or deny God. The design and the miracle of this child gives evidence of creation, and of the Creator’s interest in our microcosms. As I came to grips with the child’s need for me, I understood more deeply my need for my Father.
As my son aged and developed his own personality, and will, and perspectives, I began to see our differences as well as our similarities. Applying that to my anger with God over Dad’s death, I started grasping the idea that God, like me, would rather deal with a son’s anger than his absence.
Cory, like my Dad, has taught me a lot that he never intended or even knew he was teaching.
I wish I could say that this Kafka-esque metamorphosis happens with all new parents. It doesn’t. I think it happens with most, but I have represented some people over my years of law practice who had children but simply never became parents. This is one of the saddest circumstances imaginable. Partly because of the misery for the child, and from a broader perspective, the generational cycle of this. That’s what DHS and adoption seeks to solve.
Cory is sixteen now, and is a full-blooded introvert. He comes about that naturally from both parents. What’s really cool about the child is when they start becoming a friend.
That’s what I missed with Dad, and its just beginning to show up in tiny flickers now with Cory. I just need to be the dad and make sure I hang around long enough . . .
I did learn more on the issue of anger with God, but that’s a different story for a different day.
Parenthood is neither something to avoid, nor something to take lightly. It teaches me about God and it illuminates the faults and weaknesses in myself as they manifest in my son. I’m glad to have had good parents. Good parenting is just as generationally cyclical as bad parenting. Thanks, Mom and Dad.