I couldn’t let the birth of my daughter and first child go by without at least a few written words on the occasion. What better time to resurrect a blog that has been gathering dust. I won’t focus on the whole experience, but needless to say, it is an incredibly emotional rollercoaster. I’ve never been a kids type of person. I don’t have much of a knack with them, and I usually skip past baby pics on Facebook without much of a glance. No offense to fellow parents of toddlers or infants. But I have to hand it to people who always said Wait until it’s your own. How right they were.
My wife is a natural with the little one, as I knew she would be. I’m clumsy and nervous with her, as I knew I’d be. But I often find myself standing over her crib for ages just watching her sleep. I’m not sure what thoughts normally go through a new parent’s mind, but one of the things that always strikes me is expanse of time and years stretching out like a desert ahead of her. This little infant with the soft skin and confused eyes who cries the house down during baths or changings will one day, good fortune willing, be an old person with wrinkled skin. I find myself looking at fully grown people thinking that we were all once sobbing, confused and fragile beings that couldn’t function at all without the help of a parent or guardian. When I stress about her health I think that every single grown being on this planet was once just like her, except in most cases in much worse conditions without all the comforts we add for safety’s sake. This makes me feel more assured about her well-being and health.
The other thing that hits me is this overwhelming sense of responsibility. Like most humans I suppose responsibility in general is something that I could always use less of. But again, this is different. This is a responsibility mixed with a certain amount of pride. Somebody’s very livelihood depends upon two people. More than that though, her entire perception of the world, her morals, what she deems right and wrong will be instilled by me. There’s surely no greater or more important task in life?
Of course, there is so much to teach her as she grows, and I look forward to answering endless questions, whatever they might be. In the process I hope to instil in her the fact that in life questions are more important than answers. An attitude of questioning things will always be greater than an all knowing one. I think we as adult parents often forget the lessons young children and newborns can teach us. The learning is not necessarily a one way street of us teaching the children. After a few attempts at walking, the toddler doesn’t decide to maybe try again next week, or that hey, maybe this isn’t something for me. They keep trying until they can get it right. When a newborn is unhappy, they let you know about it, instead of holding it in and letting it stew. Young children live life in a blissful state of embracing the present moment, with no cares about tomorrow or yesterday. They are able to see wonder in the world, and have a thirst for knowledge – resulting in a whole lot of questions beginning with ‘Why’. For them the world is a magical place filled with marvels, rather than a prison filled with misery.
There’s much to learn together.