I have been a parent for exactly 13 years as of today and there are many things that I have learned in these 13 years. Here I will share some of the things that I have learned and have come to understand about being a father and as a person during the last 13 years of my life as a parent.
Patience is easily the first thing that gets tested, battered, destroyed to only be built up again and used the most as a parent in my opinion. It all starts on those first days when your baby is crying in their crib and you know that the baby is well fed, has a clean diaper and is perfectly fine, but you can’t go and pick the baby up every second it cries. The patience of dealing with little baby problems that you can’t fix so easily wears on your level of patience over and over again.
As the child starts to get older and walking and talking, the patience of a parent is constantly being tested by that kid that it’s almost like they have a plan to see if they can break you. As if the child is sitting there thinking that they can make you lose your shit and have a temper tantrum like they do to show the world that it is okay to scream for no damn reason. But you don’t because you are the Daddy and you have to show that you have more patience than the 4 year old child that still needs to take naps in the afternoon just to handle the world of playtime every day.
Then the older the kid gets and it starting to show signs of independence and strength to meet the challenges of the streets on their own without you taking them everywhere they go. You must have extreme patience to be able to trust your child to not get kissed by a car while crossing the street or in dealing with society on their own. Having a daughter, I feel that my patience it also being tested when I am given those pretty brown eyes when asking for something and I have to say no (usually I give in though).
Communication is also right there with patience as the top thing that I have learned by being a parent. I was fortunate that my wonderful Mother was, and still is, ‘long winded’ or put nicely a good communicator. From day one, I have always tried to give the most amazing answer to every question that my Princess has ever asked me. I have also made sure that when she gets upset that she talks about why she is angry and tries her best to communicate her feelings the best she can.
Sometimes we find ourselves tired or emotionally/physically drained from our days at work or from dealing with adult life and it cannot be a reason to not communicate with your child. I never give one word answers and I try my very best to articulate my ideas, thoughts and feelings to my Princess at every given chance. Our time together will be much different once she is older and spending most of her time outside of the house and away from me being able to bend her ear. So I must make this time count as much as I can.
Having a Daughter
A daughter. Hmmmmm. How crazy is it as a man to have a daughter. For my experience and feelings, this is hands down the most amazing experience of my life and can never be topped by anything ever. My Princess was born 5 days before my birthday and for that, every year she is the best birthday present that I could ever ask for. But with that said, it is still a bit nerve racking to have a daughter, especially as she is getting older and will eventually be asking to go out on her first day with a boy. That day will be met with all types of feelings that I will need an entire article to articulate. So my job as a father is prepare my Princess the best I can to teach her as much about the world as I can so that she will be prepared for what life may throw at her. Even more so, how boys/men may try to treat her if she allows them to.
Discipline is a fine line that needs to be toed at times and crossed over with powerful words at others. Over the years, I feel that it is the job of a parent to be able to effectively discipline your child in a more practical way that does not cause you, the parent, too much stress. Having been a teacher for so many years, I feel that I am able to disconnect a bit from the disciplining and personal feelings, but when it is your own child that needs to be disciplined, it does leave a bitter taste in my mouth when this little Princess gets out of line.
As with anything, with more time and energy, you learn what is the best way to deal with issues as they come and you are always getting better at every aspect of this discipline thing. BUT, as someone is now a teenager, I feel that my very existence as a human being will be tested often and I may need to seek therapy by the time she reaches 18.
The True Meaning of the Word LOVE
We all feel like we know what Love means and that knowledge changes as we get older and what I have learned over the years is the true meaning of the word Love is the Love that you have for your child. I have felt at times that I was in Love with someone for that feeling to only fad and go away quickly. The Love that I have for my child is the purest and truest that I know to have. It hasn’t faded or diminished in the slightest. It has only grown stronger and stronger and I know that nothing can break that Love that I have for my Princess. No matter what she does today, tomorrow or whenever, my Love will always be true to her no matter what. So, to me, the true meaning of the word Love is the Love that I have for my child.
Planning for the Future
Before your child is born you have all of these grand plans for them to do and follow, but as time goes by and you become that great parent that you strive to be, plans and ideas change. Your child develops their own personality that is a bit like yours. A bit like the other parent and a bit like their own self. You find that some of those plans are not possible to strive for because they wouldn’t fit well with the child that you have now. So planning for the future becomes a different animal in a sense. I have come to understand that the only planning that I can give to my Princess is that of Love, safety and my time and energy. I do not need to mention things like planning for her university education or what to do for this or that. I need to only plan to be there for her and to be the best that I can be as a person and she will gain a great deal from that positive influence. Our children become us in many ways and how I want her to be will be a direct reflection as to who I am as a person.
I wish my Princess a Happy Birthday today and I know that the world of a parent is an ever twisting and turning world that can make you laugh, cry, smile and frown all at the same time. It is how you welcome the challenges and the changes that we are all going through together as to how we can have the greatest experience that anyone can ever have. We all still need to move forward in every area of life.
Keep moving forward.