About five years ago, Chris Rock had a standup routine where he argued (convincingly) that if you haven't fantasized about killing your spouse, then you're not in love. He should have done the bit about kids instead, and I don't just say that because yesterday was Mother's Day.
Oh, don't shoot me that shocked expression. I would further riff on Rock by stating that if I find myself talking to a mother or father who acts positively MORTIFIED that I would would DARE say something like that about my OWN child, and that they have simply NEVER felt that way, nor WOULD they ... I make a mental note that I cannot be friends with this person.
Our joys and challenges with our little boy are well-documented (mostly by me). But after having spent an intense weekend with this certifiably intense child (we sponsored a belated birthday sleepover, two other boys), I have a slightly new perspective on the matter.
When James was 5, a friend of my parents once patiently listened to me vent about the challenges of raising this boy. When I finally gave her an opening to respond, subconsciously hoping that she would say some version of "poor you," she said, "I think it's really tough to be James." Ouch.
Chris Rock had it right. But even his bit wasn't an original insight; it was his own riff on a phrase that I still find to be one of the only incontrovertible truths out there: The opposite of love isn't hate; it's indifference.