Whether you witnessed the eclipse or not, I’m sure you heard about it. People were scalping solar glasses for exorbitant prices the day before the event, and the community, the internet, and social media were buzzing with excitement. Some may have kept their children home to experience it with them, and some may have had to work, so their kids may or may not have seen it at daycare. Either way, this made me think about unnecessary hype parents put themselves through because we really want to give our children as many different experiences as possible.
We want to take our children to fun events, allow them to be involved in activities and sports, and go on adventurous vacations, but will they remember? I recently watched a funny video on Facebook about a woman trying to convince her son, a college freshman, to return her phone calls. During the video, she referenced the countless hours of driving to and from practices/games, wiping bottoms, making countless meals, and a multitude of other parental duties that aren’t particularly pleasant. Her parting words were something along the lines of remembering her telephone number before the tuition payment is due.
Now that I think back, I don’t remember the countless hours my parents spent teaching me how to walk, talk, or riding a bike. Although, I remember the spaghetti that my grandma always made for my birthday, when my mom and step dad took us on a vacation almost every year, when my dad and stepmom used to take us to the lake (and the Brut cologne), and sitting on my babysitter’s lap, “driving,”. However, I don’t remember the poopy diapers, sleepless nights my mother had, hours of work my mother missed to come to my games, or the financial burden of starting a new sport, instrument, or activity. Childhood is supposed to be a time when they are allowed to be children. They shouldn’t be expected to take on adult problems. That is why our parents pass on the torch and happily become grandparents while giggling all the way back home. We have no idea what kind of life changing responsibility we are being given when the hospital hands over that bundle of joy.
I think that is why parenthood is a necessary rite of passage. Growing up, I never had a desire to have my own children because I wanted to adopt all of the children in the entire world because I wanted all of them to have a Mommy. After five years of marriage, we found out we were pregnant with our first son, and it was a game changer. All of our priorities changed immediately upon seeing the results of the pregnancy test. I gave up my dream teaching job, and we permanently relocated because we didn’t want our child to travel around the country because of his father’s job. We wanted to find a place that our children would start and finish their education. We wanted a community filled with the values we wanted to instill into our children, and we found it. Sometimes, we miss the city life and moving to all of these amazing places, but parenthood isn’t about what we want.
You literally love your children so much that you look past all of it because you know that someone did it for you. I remember hearing someone tell me that the reason you think your children are so cute is because it prevents you from dropping them off on the church doorstep. Honestly, it is true. It is an insane amount of work, selflessness, and love. Sometimes, you have to pull from a depleted source because you are so tired, overwhelmed, and lonely. That is why other parents make the best friends. They know exactly what you are going through.