How beautifully difficult

Twins Bailey and Braxton take a stroll together. Photo courtesy of their parents.

Twins Bailey and Braxton take a stroll together.
Photo courtesy of their parents.

“A child is a guest in the house, to be loved and respected– never possessed, since he belongs to God. How wonderful, how sane, how beautifully difficult, and therefore true.
J. D. Salinger

As I think about it, “beautifully difficult” is an excellent way to describe what it’s like to have children around.  I don’t know any parent who would describe that role as being an easy one.

Caring for anyone or anything on an intimate and daily basis can inspire the sort of possessive attitude Salinger warns against.  The line between responsible care-giving and inappropriate control can become perilously thin, and most of us will err on one side or the other at least a few times in our lives.  Fortunately, most humans are resilient, and this trait apparently begins at birth.

When I read this passage, I was struck by the juxtaposition of the words “wonderful,” “sane,” “difficult,” and “true.”  I seldom see these concepts associated in such close proximity, but on consideration, they are practically interdependent.

Whether or not  you are a parent, you are almost certainly called to one or more roles that could be described by all four of these adjectives.  With that realization, I wish you a day of wonderful sanity; of difficult truths that bless your life with the joys, laughter and sober understanding that go with having a child in the house.

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things. 


  1. I love this one, Julia. How difficult, or easy, is it, to keep that perspective when your child is now an adult in the house?

    • It’s a little of both, easy and yet tremendously difficult, greatly complicated when one is legally responsible for being the caretaker of a person with impairments affecting all that person’s decisions, resources and time. Fortunately, Matthew is the sort of loving, agreeable soul who makes it easier.

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: