Lessons for Parenthood

This Thursday will be our last holiday without a child. It’s kind of a big deal.

The sentiment among most first-time parents is this: “Our lives are going to change and they’ll never be the same!” Kendrick and I have accepted this and do not feel a sense of regret, but rather a sense of present awareness. And so, we’ve been soaking up this time together as much as we can. We even took a spontaneous trip down the coast last weekend to Big Sur. At first it seemed a bit crazy to drive 2 1/2 hours to Big Sur and back in one day; but why not? We didn’t have anything holding us back.

We actually met a couple sitting next to us at dinner who had a 10-month old daughter and had driven all the way from San Diego for the weekend. We asked if they had been traveling much and the wife said, “Oh yes! She’s been on 5 planes this year, and we’ve even taken her camping. Having a child shouldn’t prohibit you from doing the things you love.”

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Our dinner view at Nepenthe in Big Sur– so worth the 2 1/2 hours we drove to get there!

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Made it just in time for sunset

I was so grateful for her refreshing outlook on parenthood. For the most part we’ve been lucky and have received encouraging comments from parents, but occasionally you have a parent who doesn’t hesitate to share their less than ideal experiences.

I understand that parenthood isn’t all roses, and that’s okay. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.”

Well, there is one promise I can make to my son that I know I can keep; which is this:

“I will not be perfect.”

This reflection came after reading Karl Pillemer’s book, “30 Lessons for Living“.  I recently found it on my bookshelf and realized I had never read it. Karl is a Professor at Cornell University and ran a study in which he interviewed several elderly around the country, who ranged in age from mid-sixties to 102! He compiled all the information from their interviews into a book of 30 overarching lessons that they wanted to pass on to the younger generations. The chapter that most intrigued me, especially at this phase in my life, was the one titled, “Nobody’s Perfect: Lessons for a Lifetime of Parenting“.

I have to admit, I actually read this chapter first instead of starting at the beginning of the book.  My two favorite lessons were these:

  1. It’s all about time
  2. Take a lifelong view of relationships with your children

Here’s what I wrote in my personal journal on this topic.

Dear son,

Your dad and I talk about the first lesson frequently because we feel it is the most important gift we can give you…our TIME. You will grow up so fast and we want to be there for you through it all. Our number one value is family, and so you can expect that we will make that a priority in our home. Some children have dads or moms who work too much and travel all the time and miss out on special life events. We don’t want to be those parents. We want you to remember us being present in your life and being part of the things that are important to you.

2. We realize that once we become parents, we will always be parents. Even when you leave the home, we will never stop being your mom and dad. However, our relationship will change when you’re older. You will no longer have to report to us, you will be in charge of your own life. And so we hope that the values we teach you in the home will follow you into adulthood. The decisions we make in the next 18 years will lead to either a positive or negative relationship in the future; and so I pray that God will guide us with the wisdom to be the best parents we can be for you and that we foster a healthy, positive relationship with you.

We also realize that we are not perfect; so there may be times when we make a wrong decision or say something we don’t mean. Please know that no matter what happens, we will always love you- because you are part of us. You were created by God, but you share me and your father’s DNA. There is no one else in the world like you,  and there never will be- even your siblings will be different.

If you ever doubt my love for you- I hope you will read this and find comfort. You are SO loved and as we get ready to become parents, we can’t promise perfection, although we commit to do our best to:

  1. Listen
  2. Maintain openness
  3. Have good intentions

Te amo meu filho, (I love you my son)

 

To my parent readers: If you were being interviewed, what lesson(s) would you give to the younger generations on parenthood?

Please leave your comments below! 🙂 

PS- thought I’d include an updated bump picture! 37 weeks, 4 days along…we’re in the final stretch!

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6 thoughts on “Lessons for Parenthood

  1. We had a baby 6 weeks ago and we just went to Big Sur on her first camping trip. While life changes dramatically with a baby, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t do anything you enjoy. We’ve been able to continue doing things we enjoy – sure, things take a bit more time, and we move a little more slowly – but that’s an easy change to make if it means making fun new memories. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Congratulations Sara! Thank you for your encouraging words and I’m so glad to hear that you and your husband have continued your adventures together as a family 🙂 That’s so funny that you were recently in Big Sur too! What campground did you stay at?

      Like

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