Saturday, February 05, 2011


My parents were pretty much bare-wall people when I was growing up. No pictures, no paintings, nothing. Except for Jesus. In every room, there was Jesus. On little wooden crosses, in glow-in-the-dark, or just with a soulful look. All of which scared the heck out of me, of course.

Many years later, just one other thing made the cut: our college degrees. To my great shock, my dad actually framed them all and hung them in the living room. It makes sense when I think about it now; it was much more of an accomplishment for my parents than it was for us kids. They came here from a war-torn country with nothing in their hands but us. And with their guidance and hard-ass parenting, all of us graduated from college. Most of us, though not this black sheep, even got post-graduate degrees. It was a big deal. They deserved to feel really good about it.

So for a couple decades it was just Jesus and the degrees. Until one day, the two came into conflict.

My mom's cancer had gotten really bad, and she was spending most of her days  in a bed out in the living room, just staring and thinking. After months of this she announced that the degrees were coming down. They showed too much pride, she said. And pride was a great sin in the eyes of the lord. She didn't say it, but I think she thought she was paying for that sin.

I think about that a lot. This week, Abbott started crawling. When we mentioned that to the doctor a couple days later, she thought about it and said, "Oh. He's advanced!" She had already commented on how curious he was, as I tried to stifle a beam. Our other pediatrician said when he was two weeks old that he would do things early. And I sort of think he might be a genius because he has already learned how to High 5.

Of course, I love him immeasurably. And I can't help but be proud of him. But I do wonder -- when I post a picture on Facebook or tell a story about him -- if it's too much.

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