Nothing helps you appreciate your parents more than becoming a parent yourself. Parenting is the hardest job in the world. It’s not for the faint of heart; it’s a job with long hours, late nights, and sometimes little gratitude. It requires your deepest commitment, devotion and sacrifice. In addition, it’s the most rewarding and heartbreaking job you will ever have. You see your young one grow, learn and discover the world, while also supporting them as they make mistakes, struggle with challenges, and suffer through the bouts of disappointment that are inevitable in life.
For me, I became a parent as soon as I found out I was pregnant. The unconditional love, worry, doubt, excitement all began to build as my little one grew inside me. After Lucas arrived, the love has snowballed, and, of course, my worries, doubts and concern for his life and future have also grown. New parenthood can be overwhelming—every new stage is a learning curve for you and your child.
But in the past two months, as our little man had his first major cold and stomach bug, it really has hit me how much blood, sweat and tears go into this parenting thing. I have really reflected on how much my parents did for me growing up. After being up long nights while my little man coughed and cried, seeing him in pain and discomfort, I felt the most heart-wrenching feeling in the world.
I admire my Lucas’s resilience, his ability to smile and play and laugh, even when he doesn’t feel his best. It definitely makes me think back to my parents, the many nights they spent up with me when I was sick: changing sheets, holding my hair back as I threw up, a midnight run to the store for medicine. Not to mention my teenage years, when I am sure I kept them up countless nights with worry or concern.
In addition, as a parent, I know they suffered with me through my own disappointments and challenges, but they also celebrated my victories and successes with me. I remember once asking my mom, “Do adults have fun?” She replied, “I have fun watching you have fun.” That has always stuck with me, how my joy was her joy. As a mother, I completely understand; and, of course, the flip side is that your child’s pain is your pain, too.
This incredible love and bond of parenting continues to astound me. As a parent myself, I can so clearly see the time, energy, love and money that my parents poured into raising me. As a teenager and young adult, I probably wasn’t the best at expressing this gratitude or even realizing how much I had to be grateful for. However, as a parent, I am infinitely grateful for, and awed by, the undying love that fuels the long hours and sacrifice of parenting.
I am now fully aware of how amazing and wonderful my own parents were and still are. I only hope that I can offer Lucas the same incredible love, guidance, sacrifice and dedication, even if it takes him 30 more years to recognize it.
Dear Baby Lucas,
You are over 8 months old now. You have been in daycare for a month. Mommy had a much harder time with this transition than you, but you love it! You are very social and have many baby friends that you love to see and play with each day.
My favorite part of the day is when I pick you up each afternoon. You throw your hands in the air and squeal. It makes my heart soar to see you so happy to see me!
You are also trying big-boy foods like grits, rice, eggs and other things that Mommy and Daddy eat.
Daddy and I took you hiking this month and you love being high up in the back pack. You laughed and smiled so much. We are so excited you love the outdoors as much as we do!
Every night, after I give you your bottle and rock you to sleep, I say a prayer of gratitude and ask God to hold you in His arms, protect you and let you grow up to be a kind and caring citizen of our world.