The Bitter Sweet Stuff of Parenting
by Dan Chesney
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Your baby has just been born. All your family and friends are around you in the hospital room, cooing, smiling, talking baby talk, congratulating and complementing you on how well you did.
The birth is over and you lye back while your husband rocks the baby in a chair beside you. A sense of contentment comes over you as you prepare to go home.
But did you notice something – the pain of childbirth? That should have been a clue to all this child is going to put you through over the next 20 years or so. Your baby prophesied before he/she could even talk of things to come.
Don’t get me wrong, I am faith person, positive, optimistic. I always see the glass half full. But parenting, let’s be realistic!
First comes the poopy diapers, the crying, the sleepless nights and learning how to do everything with one arm or hand. This is then followed by the Terrible Two’s. Going out is a major event, packing your car with car seats, push chairs, diaper bag, handbag, remembering the wet wipes, change for parking, an umbrella in case it rains and the list. You must have your list because your mind is just not what it used to be.
Now you have entered the ‘Why’ phase of parenting. “Why is the sky blue? Why are you tall? Why can’t I have more cookies?” Next come the endless stories they make up which you must listen to. You are their best friend and they only always want to play with you now. Or maybe it’s the daycare centre for you and you miss everything – the first step, first word, first sentence, first finger painting. You feeling guilty all the time because you’re never around. Oh yes, it’s time for another vaccination followed by the crying and what a cruel mummy you are for doing this to your defenseless child.
You have to cope with separation anxiety because your child is going to school. You must face the parent teach ‘chats’, school reports, buying clothes every six months because your child is growing like a weed. When you enter the Sports phase, you have to buy trainers for this, jumpers for that, uniforms for another activity. You have become a taxi driver, and not just for your child. Somehow you have been volunteered as the designated driver for every kid in the school.
Family holiday time can be your yearly nightmare – all of you stuck in a caravan with the heavens chucking down the rain for the whole week, wellies, wet clothes, and those ceaseless “can we go home – I hate this place” comments.
Before you’re ready it’s time for the sex talk, hormones, loud music, bizarre fashion – the teen years. Boyfriends, girlfriends, rebellion, rooms off limits, money and more money, and even more money. Who is this person and what have you done with my child?
After years of never getting enough sleep, never knowing if you know what you’re doing, questioning your sanity, and going broke, you have served as the mummy, daddy, doctor, counsellor, teacher, sports trainer, friend, confidant and mentor. Your baby is getting married.
Oh the bitter sweet stuff of parenting! It costs so much to get rid of them. Whoever came up with the idea of weddings? Whatever happened to just Adam and Eve getting married in the woods all by themselves. They didn’t have any witnesses, best man or bridesmaids, dinners, bands, hotels, or clothes for that matter.
Do you feel conflicted, guilty that you’re so happy they’re going and so sad that they are leaving you. Your baby! How fast the years have gone. You’re sitting there watching your baby dancing at their wedding and you remember all those years it took to get here. You think to yourself, “What a wonderful life we had! What a blessing!”
Uh oh – God heard that, and as a reward for forgetting everything you went through with that child, God is going to let you go through it all again – but this time with GRANDKIDS!
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