I had a moment yesterday where, as I looked at a picture of myself with my son, I realized that things had changed in my life…a lot.
This is the picture I’m talking about:
It’s a picture of my son and me fixing our bathroom faucet.
He loves helping me fix things and yesterday, as I started to fix our faucet, I invited him under the vanity with me so he could see what I was doing. That’s when my wife snapped this picture.
As I looked at the picture afterwards, I had one of those out-of-body experiences. It was if I suddenly realized that this whole parenting thing had really gotten to me.
Here I was trying to repair our faucet and, instead of just getting the job done as quickly as possible, I allowed this little three-year-old to crawl on top of me so he could see what I was doing – something that entailed him kneeing me in uncomfortable places and generally causing the project to be more difficult and time-consuming.
And yet, I loved it.
This is a microcosm of the parenting experience. Our love and enjoyment of our kids turn us into overworked, hassled, crazy-people, who do anything and everything for them. My experience yesterday got me thinking about all the other crazy things that we parents go through as part of the parenting experience.
Here are just a few:
I have vivid memories of my wife holding our babies when they were newborns and just soaking in the closeness with them. Even in the midst of having to heal from giving birth, sleep deprivation, and a thousand other concerns, my wife reveled in the bond with our newborns, smelling their sweet scent and rocking them back and forth.
My daughter recently picked up the vexing habit of pointing to my nose and saying “boogie.” You can imagine how self-conscious that might make one feel when in the company of, say, ANYONE EVER. Oh, and you better believe she’s done that in front of company. On those occasions, I just had to get up and go check the mirror. #kids
I still remember the first time I saw the top of my son’s head as he was being born. It was like a dam had been released within me, and I finally realized what it meant to be a parent. It was a beautiful, wonderful sight that brought tears to my eyes.
The day my two-year-old son broke his leg was a scary day for my wife and I. But it seemed like nothing compared to a week afterwards when my son had a febrile seizure (a seizure caused by a high temperature). I was holding him in my arms when his eyes rolled back in his head and he began shaking uncontrollably.
We watched for a minute and-a-half as he seized and as his lips turned blue. It was the scariest moment in my life. It is the type of moment that haunts every parent, though I know there are much worse things that happen every day to someone’s child.
Part of being a parent means having to face hard, awful things with your kids sometimes. We all live with this fear.
The day I drove my wife to the hospital to deliver our daughter, I ran every red light and basically went as fast as I could. My heart was nearly beating out of my chest as we pulled up and rushed my wife into the hospital who gave birth 20 minutes after we arrived. (It’s a long story).
The pure joy
There’s nothing as sweet as hearing your child laugh one of those pure belly laughs. I’ll do anything to get it, too, even if it means doing weird voices, funny faces, or crazy made-up games. A child’s easy laughter truly is medicine for the soul.
I had to physically pick my son up yesterday and carry him to his room, arms and legs flailing, after he hit his two-year-old sister because she took a toy from him. Add that experience to the thousands of other experiences revolving around sleeping, eating, disciplining, and every other aspect of life and that is the stress every parent lives with.
My son’s friend said, “Look how high I am!” when they were both on the playground last week and, astonishingly, my son said, “Wow! You are high!” Now, I know that sounds totally stupid, but my son is three-years-old. Watching him listen to his friend and then get excited along with him was a big deal to me. It made me really proud of him.
Parenting is crazy, tough, wonderful, and fun all at the same time. And it is absolutely worth it. Take a moment to love hard on your kids. Remind your spouse that, even if she feels transformed into one of these full-blown crazy parents, these kids are still yours.