Thursday, August 22, 2013

Life Chapters – Being a Parent

Becoming a Parent

When I became a parent it was a life changing event.  I really had no idea just how life changing it would be but in short time it became abundantly clear.  With the birth of each of my children life changed a little bit more.  My wife and I did not have a parenting user’s manual – all we had was each other and our new child.  We had no idea what was to come.

For me, becoming a parent has been the most challenging yet the most rewarding thing I have ever done.  Parents need to be brave, resourceful, have moral character, be great listeners, and have a great sense of humor.  The most important thing I learned early on was that raising children is a fulltime life-long endeavor.  As time went on and my children grew older, I realized that just because they grow up and leave to make their mark on the world my job as a parent continues on.

My Feelings

As a parent, I have experienced all types of feelings and emotions.  I have felt untold amounts of love, overwhelming joy and extreme pride along with red hot anger, debilitating panic, deep despair and undeniable frustration.  There were many times that I was tired, wore out or upset.  However, all of the anger, panic, frustrations, tiredness and being upset paled in comparison to the love, joy and pride my children have brought me as a parent.

It’s Hard Work

Being a parent is hard.  It’s the hardest thing you will ever do.  You will second-guess yourself on every decision, choice or opinion you make.  There will be times that fear will overtake you as you think you are screwing up your child’s life.  You will get angry over stupid things.  There will be days that you end your day crying.  There will be sleepless nights full of worry.  There will be all night long efforts to complete science projects due in the morning.  And, you will experience the unanswered phone calls that drive soul shattering panic attacks.  Your children will leave to fight wars, go off to college and become teachers or doctors and will leave to find their place in the world.  Yes, being a parent is hard work.

It’s Amazing Work

Being a parent is amazing in so many ways.  My children have taught me many things and much about life.  I have learned to think and communicate in ways I would have never imagined.  I have learned what unconditional love really means.  As a parent very early on, I learned there is no such thing as perfect parents and regardless of their flaws children are perfect just the way they are.  Once I became a parent, I gained a renewed admiration for my parents.  Most importantly I learned that as hard as parenting may be the fact remains becoming a parent has been the most awesome thing I have ever done.

A Parent’s Job Is Never Done

A parent’s job is life-long.  Just because your children grow up and move away doesn’t mean your job as a parent ends.  In many ways parenting after your children grow up is the same as when they were youngsters.  As a parent you still experience the good, the bad, and your children continue to teach you new things about the world.  You still love your children no matter what; you still put your family first; you still want to provide food, clothing and shelter for them; you still worry about them when you don’t hear from them; you still worry about their health; and you still want to wipe their tears away when they are sad.

As hard as being a parent may be, every once in a while you will share a special moment with your child that makes it all the worthwhile.  Being a parent will change your life and challenge you in ways you cannot begin to imagine but it will also reward you with riches far more valuable and precious than can ever be imagined.

“It’s not only children who grow.  Parents do too.  As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours.  I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun.  All I can do is reach for it myself.” – Joyce Maynard


“You don’t really understand nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around – and why his parents will always wave back.” – William D. Tammeus
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