Kids amaze me

I’ve been surprised by a lot of things since we got married but no surprise has been bigger than our kids.  I was surprised by how much I took to fatherhood when our son Nate was born.  A couple years later I was amazed by how much I loved little girls when our daughter Abbie came along.  Since then they’ve never stopped being the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done.  They’re just so interesting.  I think it’s because I didn’t appreciate my own childhood or maybe I didn’t feel like I had one, who knows?

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a knock against my own folks.  I had a good childhood.  Unfortunately we seldom appreciate what we’re going through when we’re going through it because we’re too busy going through it.  When we’re six we want to be seven.  When we’re ten we want to be 13 and on and on and on.  We’re always looking forward, yearning for what’s down the road.  In the middle of it, we don’t understand the process.  And the process is life.  If there’s anything I could pass on to my kids it would be an appreciation for life because it’s all such a gift.

Ask anyone who’s ever witnessed a birth to describe it.  If they don’t use the word “miracle” call the EMT’s because they clearly have no pulse.  Watching any birth is proof of our inconsequential role in the universe.  We don’t begin this life thing we’re given.  As parents we kick things off but the big bang that is our children’s’ first breath goes far beyond anything we’ll ever hope to control.  The wonder we feel when we hear that first cry and signs of life should echo in our head and in our heart for as long as we draw breath.

As I look at Abbie in this picture at her second birthday I’d like to think that our mutual curiosity and interest in each other are things every parent and child share.  I’d also like to think we’ve never lost this.  Obviously we’re a study in contrasts then as now: boy/girl, old/young, little/big (and getting bigger).  For sharing a bunch of DNA we are then and will forever be; very different people.  Then, as it is when our kids get older, those differences can amaze us or confound us.  Ten will become 13 and 14 and then heaven help us 16 and on into college.  And we will NOT understand and we will NOT be very smart.  In fact we’ll be pretty clueless even if we don’t want to admit it.  Both of us will not get the other one on multiple, frustrating times.  The challenge is remembering how we looked at each other when she turned two.  The challenge is to continue to appreciate those differences that we shake our heads at and just don’t understand as we move out of and into understanding each other.  If we don’t remember this look we risk losing the gift God’s given both of us, our differences.

We’re put here for a reason and we’re made different for a reason.  No one’s sure of the plan and no one knows how it’s going to turn out for any of us.  We bounce around like some sort of magic jumping beans in the little plastic case we call our lives.  Hopefully we don’t do harm to each other.  Hopefully we appreciate how our differences make us unique and interesting to the other humans in our lives.  Hopefully we love each other in the process.  Because we should appreciate the process.  The process of life.

I’m convinced staying amazed, staying curious and staying interested in the way our kids are and are becoming is a formula for happiness as a parent.  It doesn’t necessarily make it easier but it helps us relish the process.

I write about life mostly at my blog and I post new stuff every week.  To read more click this to go there.   If you like what you’re reading I hope you’ll subscribe.  Subscribing is free and you can do it at the blog or by clicking here.  When you subscribe you’ll get an email on Saturdays with links to the week’s posts, nothing more.  I never sell or share emails so you don’t have to worry about getting a bunch of junk.