Sunday, October 29, 2006

"Aren't they lucky?"

And the topic for the day is "Aren't they lucky?"

I found it at Cluttergirl, who references the discussion in comments at The Naked Ovary.

We tell people who have suffered a tragedy that they are lucky all the time. Were you in a car accident? "Wow. You could have died; you sure are lucky." We say that to ourselves too, when bad things happen which could have been worse. When tragedy strikes and someone who does not have to help reaches out and pulls us back, we thank them and think that we are lucky.

I think it makes sense when when it is the randomness of the act which saves us. Had the bullet been a few inches to the left; had the stranger with the cell phone not been walking by; had it happened a year ago before the hospital had acquired the new, life-saving technology. Something happened in the world that might not have happened, but it did and so our lives will be much better than they might have been.

But there are other circumstances which seem similar, but are not. Are Hubby and I lucky to have found each other? Well, sure, I guess. I might not have met him. My life was not saved from tragedy however. Had I not met him I would have had a good life. I might have even met someone else.

So it would make sense for me to take offense if someone told me that I was lucky to be loved by him. I would come to his defense if someone said he was lucky to be loved by me. He did not get my love because he was lucky, but because he is deserving of love. Had I not met him, there would have been someone else.

I suppose it is characteristic of love to agree that we are lucky that we have our loved ones in our lives and yet deny that they are particularly lucky to have us. Because we love them, we know that the deserve love and we are grateful to be the ones who are privileged to give it to them.

People say that about and to my kids sometimes. People tell them that they are so lucky to have found me.

The director of the agency for which I work once told Carl, when he had been naughty, that we were a gift from God, that he should appreciate us because there was not another family around like us. He had no idea how lucky he was. On one hand, what he was saying was simply the truth. There were other families who would tolerate a gay foster kid, but none who would be genuinely supportive. (That was six years ago. Things are somewhat better now.)

It bothered me though that he said it. Would have have told a black child in a racist community that he was so lucky that there was one white family willing to treat him with respect? Carl was getting from us what every child deserves: a safe and loving home.

My children, all my children, deserve to be loved. I am privileged that I am the one who is able to provide it.

When someone tells me that my children are lucky to have me, that without me their lives would be so much worse, particularly if they tell me that they are lucky to find us because they are gay, they are only reminding us of how horrible the rest of the world is. They are congratulating me on not being a bigot. They are reminding my children that many people in the world do not think they are worthy of love. And to that, I take offense.

My children are not lucky. They are deserving. I am privileged to be the one to love them.

1 comment:

  1. We've had so many people tell us how lucky Baby R is to be with us. They are taken aback at how insulting this is to us. He is a baby, by the very definition he is worthy of love, caring, affection and safety.

    We are the lucky ones who have the opportunity to parent him. To have his magical belly laughs, his twinkling eyes, his stubborn screech, his tired crying, etc in our lives.

    This year we celebrate 12 years together, the Hubby and I that is. So many times people tell us how lucky we are to have each other. Yes we are lucky, not that we have each other but that we've found someone who is as dedicated to the commitment of a relationship.

    I kept nodding my head in agreement while reading your posting.


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