Last Sunday my son turned eleven years old. I still remember the day we brought him home from the hospital. Warm, spring, flowers everywhere. To this day I think of that day whenever I see dogwoods.
In about fifteen minutes five of his best friends will arrive to celebrate his birthday. This is the first moment I’ve sat down today, and I’m taking one of my more and more rare breathing moments. When I finally sat down today, I remembered something about that day we brought my first baby home from the hospital. I remember being excited, concerned because he looked so little in the rear-facing carseat, sore from the c-section I’d had a few days before, and really, really happy.
The one thing I don’t remember is doubt. I never doubted I could be a parent. Not at that time, anyway. Of course I had no doubts! I hadn’t made any mistakes yet. Since then I’ve had numerous doubtful moments. Am I a good parent? Am I ruining my child? Why does he behave so badly when I love him so much? Why do I?
Today I realized something. I have to approach each new day with the same attitude I had when I was a brand new parent who’d made no mistakes yet. Every day is new and mistake-free, and all I can do is work to keep it that way.
If only the mistakes didn’t count. But don’t fret, someday your kids will have children and you will get to watch them make their own mistakes. All we can do is the best we can and hope for the best. Along the road of parenting there are many emotions, joy, doubt, pain, happiness, and most of all love. Thank God not only for your children but the opportunity to be a parent, there are some who are not so blessed.
Spoken with the wisdom of experience, Richard. Thanks!
Aww- made me think of the day I brought Ben home. Amazing how much they have grown and how much we have grown as parents. Happy bday to Josh and happy anniversary of becoming a parent to you!
Thanks, Jenn! Parenthood is the most wonderful challenge I’ve faced in my life, but also the most challenging challenge!