Every time I see a swelled belly, I still stare. I can’t help it. No, not a “wine gut” from toasting the weekend or a “muffin top” from devouring junk food and decadent desserts. But, the one that grows a human being.
Pregnancy is a true miracle; too often taken for granted. With the birth of a child, parents are entrusted with the precious gift of life.
To provide the ‘’roots,’’ that instill stability, spirituality, morals, discipline, respect and kindness. A daunting responsibility that requires no Special Ops expertise. But, should. You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to know how to procreate.
Parenthood is the hardest job on the planet– with no days off or a pension.
I remember when I came home with my firstborn, Kevin, thirty two years ago. I couldn’t believe the hospital released me without a background check.
The deer in the headlights look was glued on my face. I was a wreck trying to pretend I had it all together.
I forgot how to position my son in my arms to nurse. I awkwardly held him in a football position, in my left arm, instead of cradling him against my chest. It didn’t dawn on me that anything was amiss, until, his dad and my mother-in-law told me.
Kevin looked thoroughly annoyed at this rocky start. Poor baby. The prenatal classes didn’t cut it. And, Google wasn’t born yet.
Many times, I felt overwhelmed, and dreamt of soaking in a bubble bath until my skin looked like prunes. Most rookie parents muddle their way through. A barista at Starbucks, whipping up a Mocha Frappuccino, has better training.
Now matters more than next
Parenting is not for lightweights. You no longer run anything, anymore. Baby boss, does. You have to have eyes in the back of your head around the clock.
That being said, along with exhaustion comes unparalleled joy and unimaginable love. Every milestone is a big deal.
We think we have all the time in the world to savor this awesomeness. But, we really don’t.
One day you are changing diapers, the next day, you are wiping a tear from your eye, as your kid graduates from high school, college or gets married.
Instead of savoring these sweet, present, moments, we end up rushing through stages and milestones– bobsledding the experiences.
We need to take our feet off the gas and coast. 18 years old comes around pretty fast.
Yep. The days are long–but, the years are short!
The “I can’t wait until,” syndrome is insidious
- “I can’t wait until he/she sleeps through the night.’’
- “I can’t wait until he/she is potty trained.”
- “I can’t wait until he/she goes to kindergarten.’’
- “I can’t wait until he/she graduates from high school.”
- “I can’t wait until he/she goes to college.’’
- “I can’t wait until he/she moves out.”
Please learn how to wait. Each moment is fleeting.
You will have times when you want to run away from the madness or lock yourself in a closet.
Everyday is NOT a Hallmark card!
But, it is cherished bonding time with your child even when they are a hormonal teen filled with angst and attitude.
You are writing your own life story. The good and the bad.
We raise our kids to give them ‘’wings,’’ to leave the nest; the independence they need to become full functioning and well developed adults.
Trust me. You will look back one day and think it wasn’t so bad, after all!
One of the happiest days in my life was when my now 29-year-old son, Troy, pulled me to the side after he graduated from college and told me, “Mom, thanks for sticking with me.” I get a real treat when I go to visit Troy at his apartment, less than five minutes away. It feels funny ringing his door bell and sitting on his couch; chuckling while watching Dave Chappelle on Netflix.
Kevin and his lovely wife, Nicole, live thirty minutes away. Both sons have made me very proud. I stay in my lane and mind my business. They are living their own lives now. And, so am I.
If you are an empty nester, use this time as an opportunity to do the things you didn’t have time to do before.
Nurture your passion, start a hobby or business, go back to school, travel the world, reinvent yourself.
Catch your breath. It’s time to spread your own wings.
Oh, and pour yourself a big glass of Malbec, you deserve it.