There’s an old saying that some achieve greatness and others have greatness thrust upon them. Not sure why that applies, except that I was going to say that some achieve being a parent by procreating and others achieve it through marriage or adoption.
I’ve been in the role as a parental figure since around February of this year, but I wasn’t really “official” till Nicole and I got married 5 weeks and 1 day ago (hi honey). When we got back from the honeymoon, Nicole also started her new job, which includes working 12 hour shifts. That leaves lots of one-on-one time for myself and Amber.
That’s actually a good thing. Nicole has a 7 year head start both on parenting and on building her relationship with Amber. The more time I spend with Amber, the more she trusts me, likes me, and listens to me. In these 5 short weeks I’ve learned some things about parenting that I never knew before. Here are a few:
1. Parenting is a 24/7 job. Even when the child isn’t there, you’re still thinking about her, planning, and worrying about her.
2. Children march to the beat of their own drummer, no matter what style of parenting you adopt.
3. There’s nothing quite as awesome as your kid hopping onto your lap and putting her arms around your neck.
4. She will only do #3 when SHE wants to…
5. Even someone as patient as myself can still be pushed to the point of frustration.
6. It’s VERY easy to let your emotions get wrapped up in the things she says to you, even though they shouldn’t.
7. Kids are WAY smarter and more perceptive than I ever would have guessed, and they have Vulcan hearing abilities.
8. There’s absolutely nothing cuter than when she falls asleep in the car with her head on my shoulder.
9. I have NO idea how to make her feel special and valued without spoiling her.
10. I’m the luckiest person alive to get to raise a child with Nicole. Her devotion, love, care, honesty, and common sense make her an amazing mom, even though she sometimes doesn’t feel like she is.
11. Having a kid is the best thing that’s ever happened to me (sorry babe, you are getting bumped to second).
12. When a little girl says “let’s play with the stroller in the basement,” she doesn’t mean “let’s push the stroller around the basement.” She means, let’s go play make believe and have some funny dialogue with the stroller as a prop.
13. Every new food is disgusting. Before you try it. After you try it, it’s yummy.
14. Your car is a receptacle for trash, food fragments, toys, books, shoes, clothes, hair pins, homework, and rotting milk.
15. It’s easier to do your kid’s chores for them than to make them do them, even though it’s the wrong thing to do.
16. Kids figure out how to play one parent against the other faster than greased lightning.
17. When you’re a parent, you take “adult time” wherever and whenever you can get it.
18. No matter how tough or manly you think you are, you’ll still bring her stuffed hippo to her when she cries in the night.
This list will be ever-increasing, I’m sure.
When Nicole works, she leaves at 6 AM. A typical morning after that involves making pancakes (which are actually just the vehicle for chocolate chips), watching Spongebob, waiting while Amber changes clothes at least 5 times (just like mommy), finding dance shoes and tights, brushing her hair, making lunch, and dragging her daydreaming little self to the car. Then I drop her off at the school, sign her in for the day, and she skips off without saying a word. When I go to pick her up, she’s usually been at school long enough that she’s happy to see me, and she waves and skips back to me. When you’re 7, it’s not TOTALLY embarrassing to be seen with your parent… it depends on the day. Then we go home, do chores, make dinner, and wait for mommy. Unless it’s dance night, then we throw that into the mix, too.
What I do know is that this last 5 weeks have been the most busy, fun, aggravating, amazing, emotional, bonding, tiring, happy weeks of my life.
I’m looking forward to adding more kids to our family, God willing.