posted on July 24, 2010 11:15
10 years ago on Sunday, my wife and I became parents for the first time as we welcomed our oldest daughter into the world.
I had read some of the right books, and spun many well-intended strategies for perfect child-rearing…but was still woefully unprepared. I can recall foolishly believing that, since she would be an infant during football season, she would sleep all the time while I watched games.
Well, I did watch some games—with the volume down and the vacuum cleaner on as I spent night after night rocking her to sleep while facing down the mental torture euphemistically known as colic.
Several other unexpected challenges would emerge those first few months of parenting, and many in the decade since—along with innumerable joys and life-changing moments. If I could do it all over again…I most certainly would.
Parenting exposes who you are down to the bone. It amplifies both the strengths and rough edges of your marriage. It shifts all priorities and re-orients every frame of reference. It brings God just a little closer, and seems to cause the years to roll by just a little bit faster.
She’s off to college in just eight years, my thoughts haunt me these days. And suddenly it’s hard to breath. There’s so much I haven’t done right. Can I “catch up” on all of this proper parenting stuff in just eight short years, to “solidify” her foundation?
Then I remember that no parent has ever done it all “right.”
And maybe the key to excellent parenting is having plenty of compassion first for yourself, so you can truly offer it to your children in turn. This is the gift that every child needs much more than the latest electronic gadget or a shopping spree at the trendiest clothes store, to know they are accepted and loved for who they are.