Parenthood is probably one of the most wonderful, difficult, rewarding, thankless, exciting, terrifying, satisfying, amazing jobs on earth. It is full of ups and downs and all kinds of conflicting emotions and experiences. Can it be described using four letter words? I think so:
- Open – Being a parent opens you up to a plethora of experiences. There will be times of great joy and great sorrow; proud moments and embarrassing ones; times of certainty and times of questioning. Parents must be open to allow in all that awaits them on the journey.
- Fair – Parenthood helps develop one’s sense of fairness. You realize that even when you think you are being fair your children may not think so. You learn to accept and compromise and you learn resolve to stand firm. You also learn the timing for each.
- Joys – It’s a roller coaster of emotions but the joys of being a parent make it worth the ride. There are so many wonderful moments that one holds onto in memories. It’s the joys of parenthood that can pull you through tough times. Listening to your baby laugh is a simple pleasure that when remembered can put a smile on your face in a most unexpected moment.
- Full – On every level a parent is full: full of anticipation; full of questions; full of dreams and hopes; at times full of anxiety and at other times full of happiness.
- Hope – Becoming a parent means putting hope in the world. You hope your child will have a bright future and many parents hope their child will make a positive impact on the world; or at least their little part of it.
- Hard – Unfortunately children do not come with instruction manuals. However, there are all kinds of resources out there to help figure out how to get this tiny little baby up to adulthood. Unfortunately many of those resources are at odds with one another so parents have to figure out what’s going to work for their particular situation. Then again, no one ever said parenthood was going to be easy!
- Long – Parenthood lasts a long time. Once you are a parent, there is a piece of you out in the world and no mater how old you get you always remain connected and therefore concerned about the welfare of your child.
- Woes – The woes of parenthood can be short lived and temporary or last a lifetime. It would be nice to think of parenthood as always nice and rosy, but it doesn’t work that way. Our children grow up to make their own decisions and sometimes those decisions can have costly consequences. By the same token, sometimes as parents we make decisions that we later regret.
- Life – Someone once said that to have children is to begin your own journey of immortality. Just as each of us are the result of our ancestors, when we become parents we expand our own lives into the future – providing our children outlive us and their memories of us are worth carrying forward.
- Love – Meeting that baby for the first time opens up floodgates of love that you didn’t even know were possible. As your baby grows so does your love and sometimes even the hardest hearts become soft with love for a child.
Parenting isn’t an easy thing and it’s not for the weak-willed. It’s been said that it’s the one thing we don’t need a license to do, but we should. It can be the most rewarding job you will ever have, especially if you are willing to put in the time and sacrifice that the job calls for.