Kids love their parents.
Not because their parents are great or even necessarily competent. It’s not merit-based or skill-dependent.
The names “mom” and “dad” carry a connection that transcends more than we might think. Sometimes even things we can’t bear to think.
In the movie “The Kid with a Bike” (which I strongly recommend), a young boy experiences consistent care from counselors at his group home and sacrificial love from a stranger who becomes his foster parent. Yet again and again he fights to be with his biological dad who shows him nothing but neglect and apathy in the film.
Jonathan and I saw that same staunch devotion in our house. Victor wanted to be with his dad too. He daydreamed about the two of them running away together. No matter how many promises were broken or visits were missed, that wouldn’t change.
When Victor’s counselor asked him to draw a picture of his family, he sketched himself, his brother and sister in the back of the van where they all lived for a year. Dad was in the driver’s seat steering toward a very frightening haunted house.
Victor didn’t miss his dad’s mistakes. They just didn’t change his feelings.
It was a powerful picture of unconditional love. One that required comfort, not critique.
Jonathan and I ached not for Victor to stop loving his dad, but for his dad to have the strength to return that love.
Sadly, that wasn’t the ending.