It feels like yesterday when I arrived at the hospital 2 weeks overdue with a planned inducement. I was no longer afraid of going through labor; the discomfort of being huge had remedied the fear quickly. After hours of the “drip,” labor contractions were still glaringly absent and the doctors informed me that a caesarian was mandatory. Soon after, I was holding my 10 pound 6 ounce baby, listening to the nurses joke that I had given birth to a 3 month old. I’ve been in love ever since.
Here we are exactly 15 years later and I am struck with how independent he is becoming. I’m very proud of the young man he’s growing into and the beautiful masterpieces he’s painting with his life.
In commemoration of his birthday today, I am posting a newspaper piece I wrote. This article was the first of what became a column called “Growth Spurts.” My articles on parenting appeared in the Wasaga, Stayner & Angus Sun in Ontario, Canada in the mid to late 90’s.
Growth Spurts in Relationships
“The results are positive.”
Does anyone hearing this for the first time, truly understand the lifelong changes this simple statement implies?”
Why do we do it? Why do we give up our lives, put our dreams on hold indefinitely, just to see the smiles of our own little miracles?
The first change is immediate, we are no longer a couple or a single – we are a family.
And then there’s time. What is that?
Time to sleep, time to eat, time to go to the bathroom – none of it is ours.
Marriage is irrevocably transformed. If it can survive children, it has the potential to survive anything! The extra demands placed on the relationship are incredibly challenging. It takes a lot of patience to survive the first few years, but it’s worth it, because both partners develop a better understanding and respect for each other.
All relationships have hurdles to overcome – children are a mountain range. Marriages that survive are composed of couples that help each other climb, stopping to appreciate the vistas along the way. Knowing that eventually, they will get to the other side.
Based on all the changes and stress, why do people bother to procreate? Are we all innately masochistic?
I suspect every parent would do it all over again if given the choice.
Children are gifts from God. We put in all kinds of time, energy and money into them, knowing they are in our care temporarily.
What is our return on investment?
Entertainment. We are overjoyed when we see glimpses of our little genius; first steps, first words, accomplishments in school, clubs and humanities.
Pride. Children are the ultimate work of art. We supply the paint brushes and canvas. Initially, we paint for them until slowly, they begin to paint for themselves.
Learning. We are teaching them while they teach us. We too are a work in progress.
Satisfaction. Our hard work pays off when we sit back and observe the masterpieces our children create on their own.
Simplicity. As adults we get so caught up in our lives, we sometimes forget the meaning of it. Children are constant reminders to keep it simple, they force us to slow down and appreciate the now.
Unconditional love. This is the big one! No matter what challenges children bring to our lives, our hearts swell just looking at them – especially while they sleep.
William Blake wrote;
When the voices of children are heard on the green,
And laughing is heard on the hill,
My heart is at rest within my breast,
And everything else is still.
In the face of adversity children can provide an inner peace that only a parent can access.