This Father’s Day, Kings and I happened to have the pleasure of hearing Hank Fortener who runs Adopt Together speak for the first time, and when he got to the part about his adopted brother from China (our pastor btw adopted two kids, now teenagers, from China as well as two other kids from the States who I think are now attending university) I wanted to share the story.
Hank Fortener (pic from hankfortener.com)
Hank describes his trepidation when his brother Matt, who has Asperger’s (in a podcast interview I then found, it appears Matt also had 9 facial surgeries to correct a double cleft lip and palate) wants to throw a big high school graduation party before going off to college to study Accounting. (Matt btw is now also Dean’s list)).
Worried his younger brother will get a no-show at his party and be terribly disappointed, Hank initially starts pulling people – anyone he knows, the pizza guy, anyone – to come to his brother’s party. As the party progresses, Hank’s pointing out all the other people who came, even as his little bro is mumbling “No one’s coming,” and at 2pm there’s like one kid who shows up and Hank’s making a big deal of it………
At 2.15pm, there’s this car that pulls up and it’s full of kids. Cool kids, Hank observes, kids who dress nicely, who look good, like they get invited to other parties a lot….. And then the next car pulls up. And the next, and the next after that…..
5 cars of kids later, there’s this kid bringing up the rear – Heath – who’s engineered the whole thing, and Hank gives us the visual: “fastest kid in Ohio,” “has muscles in his jaw that I’m never gonna have in my whole body”….. Basically, Alpha Kid has engineered for all the cool kids to come over, and as Hank is trying to thank him profusely for saving his brother Matt’s party (or rather, “life”), Heath looks over to Matt, standing next to him, looks him right in the eye, and says “(We’re late, because) We always save the best for last – and Matt – you’re the best.” Matt would turn to his older brother Hank and beam, “This is the happiest day of my life.“
This is the post that never made Mother’s Day (couldn’t finish), and well, hearing about Matt and Heath kinda helped me say it just after Father’s Day. My parents initially wanted me to have 3 or 4 kids (not anymore haha), the people I’ve dated seriously always wanted several kids…… But I famously preferred animals, not well, humans.
(Rockstar would snark along the lines of Well, We Could Tr-y…. to which Her Highness, his Partner in Crime in this respect, would then vigorously meow her head off 😀 (This btw is their response to my explanation why they get disciplined and the dog doesn’t really – you can mostly spoil pets and you will not be too negligent of your responsibilities towards society. But for another thing, the dog doesn’t say all these annoying little snarky things :D))
Animals will not grow up to hold jobs/possibly also nuclear weapon launch codes/get married/have families/ raise kids of their own…….. Raising another human who has the capacity to someday cause a great deal of pain to other people is probably the biggest responsibility
you usually don’t think about.
Oh yeah, also, like the evil wizard Jaafar, your heart will no longer beat within you but will instead tell you not to follow too closely behind (yes this is Queen E’s latest antic when she goes to art class “which has naughty boys that (she) fight(s) with”).
Think about it. Are those not absolutely terrifying reasons to not have kids? (I have actually a good friend several years older than me who, after dithering it over with her other half for years recently told me n-ope, we weighed the pros and cons and we’ve Decided Not To. Our 6-figure monthly salaried job and trading portfolio shall be our “babies”. They will take care of us in our old age hahaha. I have also friends who struggled with infertility for many years. This makes me look at Mother’s Day and Father’s Day differently as well.) Choice is truly a great privilege.
Dis is the Giant Hand that protects Evil Jaafar’s heart, encased in a glass tower in the old Captain Sinbad movie (pic from monsterkidclassicforum.yuku.com)
(And where can we get Giant Hand especially for Queen E, right? :D)
But back to Matt and Heath. Suddenly, something like parties, which during your own teenage years you never cared about, will make you oh-so-incredibly vulnerable.
What if you had a Matt?
What if you went pulling the pizza guy and all your friends to a high school party, even as you knew that any effort you made would always be second best to Alpha Kid showing up with all the other cool kids?
What if you had a Heath?
Then it would be in your ability to “make” one of the most important days in another person’s life. You could be Giant Spikey Hand for someone else’s kid. How Could You Not?
So maybe you grew up being Matt. Maybe now you’re a parent and your kid is Heath to your former Matt. Well here’s the thing – when someone has been mean, you may not be able to choose the kind of day you’re having (realistically, right? Even if you have a will of steel, you might have a bad day for like, 5 minutes, before you pick yourself up) but you can totally choose what kind of person you want to be.
Being “nice” is an active choice, not to perpetuate behaviour you do not respect. You might look at it as a difficult, much harder option… but choosing Nice is also the biggest celebration of the fact you had a choice. One of my former mentors (who constantly reminded me is not always a nice guy) describes Choice Nice: Those things you feel when someone is mean to you – do you like them, why would you ever want to be like them?
“Doing the right thing” may not always seem cool, but hey, if you’ve got a Heath then your kid is already cool enough for both of you
Have a good week ahead, dears…
ps: almost forgot – pic of the kids, before I get umm, complaints 😀
(Yes, she is the youngest and smallest and her feet can barely reach the stretching bar. Her very experienced instructor – can’t believe he coaches both national teams and little kids haha – regularly checks that her little foot is planted firmly on the floor while stretching)
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