Parenthood.. is it all really worth it?

Image result for mary cassatt Don't judge this poem by it's title--it's a work in progress. Also, don't expect this to be poetry in the iambic pentameter sense. It's more stream of consciousness, or more accurately conscience. I want to talk about parenthood.

It starts, not when you hatch that lifeform but when you first start thinking about doing so. And let me tell you right now that whatever you heard, read, were told or thought it will be different than anything you thought you were prepared for. I almost think it would be better to go in completely ignorant because then at least there are no preconceived (pun, lol) notions.

So this little critter starts to grow and very quickly you begin to realize that this is pressure like you have never had. You might, if you're normal, wonder "oh what have I done?' Because you did it alright. You can say that the divine being or God or whatever you call Him or Her blessed you and created life, but you did the leg work to make it happen.

Yet regardless of who's to blame, you very quickly feel an  insane, intense attachment to this being, that borders on self-destructive. You worry about every breath you take. You guilt yourself for things beyond your control. You are sure that the one sip of alcohol or secondhand smoke you accidentally breathed is going to cause permanent, crippling disability, even though you know that crack-addicted babies survive to become brain surgeons and perfect pregnancies sometimes end in death.

And then when lil 'un is born the terrors are compounded. You know you're going to screw it all up. So let me just reassure you right are. Parenthood is a series of missed boats, baseball games and opportunities. Our hearts split at the seams with love,  yet we say and do the stupidest things. We misunderstand and get it wrong more often than not.

Now if any of you haven't gone the the bathroom to slit your wrists, hang on, there's a caveat. You aren't supposed to do it right. Parenting is essentially shooting from the hip, in the dark, drunk, with one broke leg. You couldn't hit that target for all the Dr. Spock on the shelf. And please, run, screaming, away from anyone who proclaims to HAVE gotten it right.

So we're still in a pretty depressing place. But here's where God/your higher power comes in. When that beautiful cake called life goes crashing to the floor, guess what? The divine baker can magically fix it. He doesn't just frost over...he makes it better than it was. He takes your humble efforts and bippity-boppity-boos them into wonderfulness. It's a gestalt thing....the whole really is greater than the sum of our poor pathetic parts. And boy does He owe us, tricking us into this parenting thing!

And let's talk about those 8-lb meatloaves and their part this mess. The minute the red, lumpy thing pops out (by agonizing, Herculean effort on mom's part) she takes up all the oxygen in the room and the space in your heart (home, bed, car...) You are no longer a person with a name and a life. You're that little so-and-so's dad.

You absolutely adore them with every cell in your body. You hover, you wake up imagining they are crying and you check for breathing at least 20 times a night. Even when they do sleep you can't fretting and worrying. And here's another magical part. She feels the same way. She can't stand to be separated from you. You must be no more than nanoinches from her. She worships you.

Oh, and while we're on that subject, permit me a mini-rant. When the parenting Nazis tell you she's spoiled, too clingy, you should let her cry it out, tell them to go bugger themselves. So many wonderful parents let these fools scare them into thinking they can't trust themselves or their children. I mean seriously, who are you going to listen to? Some bitter know nothing, know-it-all or someone who just recently dwelt int the arms of the angels, huh? That Dr Ferber should be boiled in his own Enfamil.

Oh, and if you've done your part, they will continue to be needy of you as they grow. AS THEY SHOULD BE. The reason you feel such soul-deep responsibility and craving affection for them is that you are their lifeline. Mama and Papa are the only thing between child and unspeakable horror. I'm sorry to sound so drastic but it pretty much is. The child has not the capability to survive alone.

But, and this is a biggee, it's a short time of needing you and suddenly, they can make it on their own. Hear me when I say, that the terrible twos, troublesome tweens, terrifying teens, these too shall pass and all too quickly. That is a threat, not a promise. For all the intensity with which they need you, it's over (here's where a lot of that aforementioned missing out occurs). Just when you think you can't take one more minute of this kid, they've flown and you miss them with shocking almost suicidal pain. That's how it's supposed to be too.

I'm going to have to pause this for a bit. But I'll continue soon. I recognize that a lot of what I'm saying, the Prophet Kahlil Gibran has said so much better but I would like to amplify some of his thoughts. And I think that you will, find as I have, comfort  in them.


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