Best things of parenthood
by Jill Jasper
Okay, maybe "pleasure" is the wrong word to describe childbirth; labor and delivery are scary, even if mom opts for the epidural and dad stays in the waiting room. But going through what seems a geometric improbability—fit large oblong object through very, very, very narrow space—endows you with a newfound respect for human life. It is, indeed, a miracle. After all, the female body accomplishes what even the best business minds rarely can: conceive of and launch a new product in just nine months. No R&D budget, PowerPoint presentation or marketing plan required.
First Time Out of the House
Having swaddled your baby like a sausage, covered her soft spot with two pink-and-blue hospital caps, strapped her into the portable "bucket," belted the bucket onto a stroller, looked both ways five times before crossing the street, and walking 1 mph around the neighborhood in 72-degree weather, you return home knowing that you and your child survived the great outdoors without breaking or catching pneumonia. This may seem like a minor achievement, but after this journey your confidence soars. From this point on, anything is possible!
Yes! It's amazing how excited you can get over poop and pee. Fear that your child will graduate from size 6 Cruisers to Depends, instead of underpants, no longer keeps you up at night. In addition to the sense of newfound independence you both feel, there's nothing quite like watching your 3-year-old sit on the toilet as you secretly calculate the money you'll save not buying diapers. Compounded over 15 years, it could pay for his freshman year at college.
As a parent, you rediscover the four main food groups and learn to cook instead of dial for dinner. Better yet, you actually sit down to eat and talk with your family. You'll find out what your kids learned at school. You'll hear their views on current events. Maybe you'll just laugh together. Not every meal will be so satisfying, but sharing mealtime with your family has a way of putting life into perspective, one day at a time.
Parenthood is like a time machine. From Candyland to hide-and-seek, patty-cake to reading The Cat in the Hat, playing with your kids awakens memories and senses long forgotten. Every time you build with Legos, dress-up like a princess, re-read Ping, or watch The Wizard of Oz, you'll rediscover a kind of creative, imaginary fun that adulthood rarely accommodates. It can be difficult to exit work time and enter playtime—and trying to forget about office deadlines and pressures—but once you free your mind, you'll live in and enjoy the moment.
Hugs and Kisses
A peck on the cheek at bedtime. A full-body squeeze before you head out to work. Hugs and kisses from your kids are shots of adrenaline, caffeine, and sugar all at once. Shows of affection may get fewer and farther between as children grow older, but each one of them is a natural high.
Seeing Yourself in Your Child
Your daughter inherits your sense of humor and your spouse's corkscrew curls. Even better, she does not inherit your inability to add fractions or your husband's dance moves. Observing the physical and personality traits that manifest themselves in your children—and those that, thankfully, do not—is one of the most gratifying parts of watching your children evolve.
Discovering New Hobbies
Kids introduce us to things we never thought we'd be remotely interested in. Before having my son, I was completely unfamiliar with construction equipment. Now, I can spot a Caterpillar backhoe loader from 500 feet away while driving 60 mph—and I get excited about it! If you hate sports, expect your son to be on the basketball team. If you're tone deaf, don't be surprised if your daughter plays the lead in the school musical. Inevitably they expand our world, making it a more interesting place.
Reliving First Love … and First Heartbreak
When your children fall in love for the first time, you'll briefly long for the giddy, adolescent feeling of the head-to-toe crush, followed by the fireworks of a first kiss—and all those other firsts. But then, you'll watch as they wait for a phone call, a second date, an invite to the prom that never comes. Your heart breaks for your son or daughter, but you're grateful that you never have to feel that particular brand of teenage pain again. First loves are best relived vicariously.
Whether it's kindergarten, elementary school, high school, college, or beyond, the day your children formally pass from one educational level to another is thrilling, and almost as relieving as potty training. Your deepest fears that they "won't make it" are replaced by overwhelming excitement for their future and pride at the hard work you both put into past education, from their ABCs to their Ph.D.s.
Rediscovering Your Spouse
You think you know your significant other, but having a child casts your partner in a whole new light—not just as a spouse, a lover, or a friend, but as a mother or a father. You'll smile as your partner wrestles with your son, teaches your daughter to drive, or explains why we don't poke the cat. Watching my husband be a dad—patient and silly, gentle and engaged—makes me love him even more. source