What Is Parenting?

Parenting is

  • crying at the first sight of my unborn child
  • talking with other pregnant moms to see if they; have trouble sleeping on their backs at night, eat pints of ice cream daily, and have dreams of flying babies (I know that’s weird. I still don’t get it.)
  • wanting to have a perfect birthing experience
  • during active labor, wanting to just have the baby (enough contractions already!!!) so I can hold her in my arms
  • sleepless nights filled with the warmth of a warm, cuddly, little body that breathes in time with mine, and wakes before dawn EVERY day
  • talking with other parents about how to “sleep through the night” and get baby to do so as well
  • knowing how to respond to cries that only I can translate into a a request for something
  • talking to other parents about what they do when baby won’t stop crying at 5:00pm every day
  • daytime naps with baby (if I’m lucky)
  • being spit-up on, peed on, pooped on, hit, bit, punched, pushed, yelled at, and embraced by someone I have unconditional love for
  • wishing I could “bubble wrap” my child as she takes her first step
  • crying when my child looses her first tooth and I am  talking to her and seeing a picture of it on my phone because I am not there to witness it first hand.
  • continuing to cry because this is not the last time I will be away for events such as this
  • not being able to drive off the parking lot after dropping my child off for her first day of preschool
  • talking outside of the preschool with other parents that can’t drive away either
  • wondering why I just wasted so much time in the parking lot because I am now sitting at a coffee shop, thoroughly enjoying a moment of selfish bliss before picking my child up from preschool in 20 minutes
  • the stab of pain I “re”experience when my child comes home and tells me that her friends would not play with her at school because the color of her skin was different from theirs. Where did I put that bubble wrap?
  • being dumbfounded when my child comes home the next day and tells me that she played with those same girls the next day at school
  • sharing this with another parent that responds with concern, compassion, and a genuine desire to understand and support my parenting
  • having “the talk” with my child and when I ask “Do you have any questions?”  her response isWhat’s for dinner?”
  • talking to other parents about their experiences with “the talk”, hearing similar stories, and sharing tips for broadening the conversation when the time comes. (I’ll be ready next time!)
  • crying the first time my child goes away to a week long camp. Do I have any bubble wrap left?  (college is going to be a disaster for me, I’m sure)
  • being more anxious than my 6th grader (she was absolutely delighted) as I watch her mingle with her peers, many of whom were over a foot taller than her, on her first day of middle school
  • spending her college saving on bubble wrap!

My journey as a parent, as brief as it may be, has led me to a few conclusions so far. I have come to understand the complexities of parenting and how the support of other parents has helped me work through those complexities. Parents are an essential part of each others’  lives. We are stronger because we have each other. And our children are the recipients of this strength. It truly does take a village.

And possibly most important… Thank goodness for bubble wrap!!!

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