Tuesday, April 1st, 2008
Why I Asked that Big Picture Parenting Question Last Week
Last week I asked Thinga-readers, “What does having a child mean to you?” My ulterior motive was to use your responses to help me select one of you as a judge in the Win a Conceivex Conception Kit contest, a contest squarely aimed at couples having difficulty conceiving.
Everyone shared great thoughts on the issue. My wife and I assembled our top five submissions and the one submission that overlapped on our lists was from Dawn Detweiler, aka “PsychMamma.” She captured the essence of being a parent, pulling together sentiments many of you expressed.
What struck me most was her statement, “I live in the moment more…” It’s something I’ve recognized in myself in both life and death. It’s cliche, but when my brother died at age 25, his death helped me take stock of what’s important in my life and to be more aware of life’s fleeting moments as they happen. So too is my experience with parenting… being aware of our own mortality (I’m not planning to die soon, but no one ever does), as I witness magic moments with my kids every day, each never to be witnessed again, each to be savored.
Here is PsychMamma’s post reposted:
We didn’t think that we could have kids, and then….Surprise! Two years ago, our daughter was born. Having a child has taught me what truly unconditional love is. We talk about it with spouses and partners, but I don’t think we TRULY experience it until we have children.
I am more patient than ever. I have better problem solving skills. I live in the moment more and experience more joy and happiness as I see her discovering the world. I’ve become much less selfish and “Type-A” by necessity. I eat healthier and am more concerned about the environment and world because I want to be a good example and because I think about the future for her. I drive more safely/slowly. I have much more respect for, and a better relationship with, my own parents — especially my mom. I never really understood everything I put her through and what it was like for her until now. I’m loving every minute
of the journey!
I edited out some bits from her comment that pertained to her daughter’s physical challenges. Upon first reading, didn’t everything she wrote apply to all parents? But, for what it’s worth:
“[My daughter] was born with an intestinal birth defect and lung problems and was in the NICU for the first 3 months of her life. [...] Finally, I think especially because our bundle of joy has ongoing health issues, I have discovered a reserve of inner strength and stamina that I didn’t know I had.”