Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Welcome to the family!

Parenting is rough. You start out with big plans for the future, but also with trepidation. Are we crazy, bringing a child into this world?

The excitement mixed with fear eventually gives way to fatigue, swollen ankles and heartburn. Then one day the child arrives, and you are awestruck. Soon you will be tired again, and then by turns exasperated, delighted and tired (oh, I already said that). Life will never be the same, and for most of us, that's a wondrous and great thing.

And while this little red-haired, pink-skinned, chubby-cheeked wonder is growing, you think ahead and begin to have hopes for his future. You hope he does well in school, has a best friend, finds a skill and a passion. And you hope he finds love.

No matter what you do - how many parenting books you read, how firmly you maintain discipline, how open and accepting and loving you are - there are no guarantees that this baby will have any of those things, or be the person you think he will - or should - become. You do your best, say your prayers if you believe in God, and try not to get in the way as he steps out as his own person.

My little boy is now 25. He did well in school. He had - has - best friends. He found many things that he is good at and passionate about. And now, he has found love. He and his girlfriend announced their engagement last week, to the great delight of my husband and me.

Sometime in the next couple of years, I will gain the daughter I have always wanted. And at some point after that, my son and his wife will experience the awe and fear of parenting...and the cycle will begin again. I am happy and excited, and from here, the future looks incredible.

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