Becoming a parent changed everything about who I always thought I was or would ever be. On May 1, 1982 and again on April 24, 1984 I realized how one single moment can completely change you forever. It sounds completely cliche, maybe even trite, but anyone who has given birth and the significant other who was in the room at the time know this is, by far, the biggest truth ever discovered.
This isn’t some new revelation. Just about every type of family counselor has a practice based on the effects of what becoming a parent has done to their children or them. In most cases, the effects of what the combined experiences have done to both parent and child.
It is singularly the most laborious, painful and magnificent experience anyone will ever know. You come out of it both thoroughly joyful and physically exhausted. Your heart is never so full as it is the second you hear the first little cry. No matter what the circumstance, the little bundle that you’ve just met becomes the center of your universe. No matter what their age, no matter what happens, it is a fact that whatever they are to go through you too will feel their joys and their sorrows.
As a parent you will want to shield them from harm, injustice, hurt feelings, disease and numerous events-and believe me, there is the knowledge that you can’t and sometimes shouldn’t try.
It is a parents duty to not only give their offspring love and support, but to also give them the tools to stand strong on their own two feet. If we are failures in teaching them independence, we will fail our own future generations.
I always saw myself as being a newsperson. Someone who wrote without bias. A “just the facts” person. There was no white or black-just what the facts provided my with so that a report could either be published or put out over the airwaves.
When I saw my child and held her in my arms-how I viewed the world changed to a place that I needed to sculpt so that she would exist in the best and safest place I could provide. I soon realized, this was doing her an injustice. If I didn’t let her observe and come to her own conclusions, she would not be able to survive whatever her personal life’s menu held.
After our son was born, I began to work very hard at letting my children experience things that scared me. Going to play dates (fearing they’d get hurt), taking swimming lessons (I didn’t want them drowning, but fearing they might if I let them in a pool), spending the week at science camp (who knew what was in those mountains-snakes?) or sending them on weeklong sports trips-not only fearing injury, but knowing I wouldn’t be able to see that winning goal.
I was no longer the hard-boiled newsperson. Somehow watching a karate or soccer tournament became far more interesting than interviewing Alex Haley. Watching the joy in their faces at homemade cookies held more interest than the outcome of the latest election. Staying up all night relieving the pain of an earache meant more than seeing a byline.
Yes, becoming a parent changed me forever. And today, I’m able to write again, but it’s about life around my family and the things that make us who and what we have become as individuals and as a unit. Many things I’ve written have to do with something as simple as recipes I came up with to get them to eat vegetables! It’s the new events that I’ve come to experience because my “little bundles” have reached different stages in their lives.
They are adults now. Our “baby” is about to graduate college. I’m looking forward to what my reaction will be seeing him receive that all important and well-earned sheepskin.
My first born just had her own little first bundle of joy. I am so happy I was there to see her complete transformation.