IT’S sad to admit, but while some children are easy to love, others require more of us — sometimes more than it seems we’re capable of. But given the right combination of awful circumstances, you can discover surprising things about yourself. Loving Theo required lavishing affection upon him and receiving almost none in return. It required a willingness to think like him, to see the world through his eyes, so that he wouldn’t have to suffer constant frustration.
And it required work, a whole lot of grinding, tedious, physical work. More work than I ever could have imagined having to do for another human being. And yet I did it — most of the time with tenderness. These days, when I catch Theo’s eyes and tap my heart, he says sweetly and dutifully, “I love you, too, Dad,” and the sound of his voice, the look on his face, it cracks me up.