Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to conceive! For the greater percentage of us, having a child isn’t (or wasn’t) something that was given a lot of thought or consideration. In fact, a lot of parents ponder more over whether to have soup or salad with dinner. Nonetheless, and thankfully so, the world keeps turning and our children (for the most part) are hopefully oblivious to our past ignorance’s. I know that when I became a father for the first time, I was totally unprepared for what was to come, and believe me, it didn’t get any easier the second, third or fourth time either. Why is this? I think that I was trying to quantify my children to fit an ill-conceived mold. Fortunately, they made it to adulthood intact – at least they are not criminals, drug addicts, or democrats – well 3 of them aren’t anyway.
Then, just when we thought that we were in the “home stretch,” along came a little “surprise” (9 years after our fourth child) and our whole world was turned upside-down…that is until she was born!
For reasons unknown to me at that time, this child was different. Although my wife’s labor had been relatively short, it was physically hard on her – breaking her tailbone during delivery! Consequently she was in an extreme amount of pain and virtually unable, for the first couple of months to do a lot with our new baby girl except to breast feed. As a result, I had the opportunity to bond a little more closely with this child than any of the others before. This precious babe would sleep on my chest those first weeks so she would be close enough for my wife to feed her without having to get up and further aggravate her condition. This closeness that was built, forever changed the way I viewed fatherhood, and my way of parenting. I was learning to appreciate and enjoy the “small” things – watching my daughter play and learn and grow; realizing that each child is a beautiful individual that has so much to give, and teach us as parents, and also realizing, sadly enough, that I had missed so much with my other children. But, we are to enjoy what we have and not remorse over what we don’t; and even though I wished that I had experienced this with my other children, I could not go back in time to change things and it would not be fair to this child to take away or lament the loss. As a result, two-years later my wife and I decided to have “one” more child; we were blessed with another daughter! She, like her other siblings is her own person, and we (my wife and I) appreciate the fact she is just that.
Some people say “life is a bowl of cherries,” I tend to think of life (or parenthood) as a bowl of oatmeal. Sometimes a little plain and boring, life – like oatmeal, is what we make of it – and whether you decide to sweeten yours or not, life is still good!