6,949 days ago, I began my journey into parenthood. And I am so thankful that I did not have to do it alone.
When we started on this journey, my hubby and I were feeling ready. We had finished undergraduate degrees, started our careers, and were living in our third home already. Being a teacher, I had experience with children and child development. He had a sense of fun and humour that I knew our children would love.
We were totally unprepared.
At first, I felt so alone. I didn’t know what to do with a baby, how to read cues, understand the cries and figure out what this little person needed. I felt confident going in but that all went out the window. At times, hubby and I had totally different ideas on how to care for our child.
Somehow, we endured. I did a lot of walking with a crying colicky baby in the carriage. We got through the sleepless nights, the teething, the tantrums and by the time he was three, it was all a distant enough memory that we were ready to take the plunge again and have baby number two.
And slowly, gradually, my confidence returned. We began to work better as a team. I recognized that there wasn’t only one way to parent… (the way I thought was best). Hubby showed me that there is another perspective, another way that also works. A way with humour and lightness that balanced my serious attempts at good supervision and teaching values and responsibility right from the early days. And though I didn’t agree with every step we took, I kept an open mind, recognizing that children need more than one perspective in this complicated world.
Fast forward to today and our 19 year old and 16 year old do so much that make us proud. Truthfully, they don’t need to do a thing because we would be proud of them anyway. Still, we are at that point now where we see the rewards of all that time we put in together. Today, it is not all easy-peasy and if you are on the outside looking in you might make judgements or see flaws or perhaps feel we could do better.
The bottom line: I wouldn’t go on that 6,949 day journey with anyone else. And I look forward to the next 6,949 days as our children eventually begin lives of their own knowing there will be challenges but that if we work together with an open mind to each other’s unique perspectives, life will work out as it always does.