the first year

i may be past the first year of parenting, but it really makes no difference. every day still feels kind of new. i still don't really know what i'm doing. do you ever really feel like you know what you're doing as a parent? no, seriously, do you?

as much as i longed to be a parent, and as grateful as i am to actually be one, i still freak out about screwing up my kid(s). the 2 things that i always come back to though - okay, i just learned one of them today, but still. i will come back to the second just as much as i continually come back to the first. anyway, the 2 things are these: 1. i've read that the biggest thing you can do for your kids, the thing that studies have shown makes the biggest difference in how they turn out, is that they know they are loved. you love them, and you let them know it. period. simple as that. of course this doesn't mean that there aren't other good things to do, but it kind of takes the pressure off. 2. the second thing that i just read about today is that generally speaking kids respond better when they have parents who are willing to apologize and admit their weaknesses. they have parents who will admit when they're wrong.

it takes a little bit of the pressure off for me. not that there isn't still pressure. americans are very very good at putting cultural pressure on things, and having an opinion that they are ready and willing to share the second the opening for it may [or may not] arise. but whenever i start freaking out about parenting, and getting upset because i just don't know what to do, i think of these things and think "whew, i can do this." or that i at least have a decent shot at it.

of course that doesn't mean i haven't learned a thing or two over the course of the last 14 months, it just means that on top of all of the things i've learned, i've also learned how little i know. crazy how that happens, right? i mean, when i was about 13 i was sure i knew everything there was to know. my best friend and i even figured out the whole story of how the dinosaurs died which no scientists had officially agreed on for thousands and thousands of years.
we figured it out in about a week. [but that's a story for another day]

i digress.

i've learned that you can be as ready as you can be, but you're never really ready.
i've learned that even when you have a good marriage a child adds a whole new understanding to the concept of unconditional love.
i've learned that diaper blowouts really stink. pun intended.
i've learned that there is nothing, nothing, nothing in the world that can compare to watching a child grow up right in front of you.
i've learned that one part of parenting that i am grateful for every day is my son's laughter.
i've learned that once you get kind of used to one stage, that means the time has come to move on to the next one.
i've learned that knowing what you should do means nothing if you don't suck it up and do it. even when it's hard.
i've learned that watching peter and keane together is every bit as amazing as i thought it'd be. and more.
i've learned that the urgency and fervency of my prayers for my child grows with each passing day.
i've learned that keane will always want what i have more than what he has, even if it's the same thing.
i've learned that before leaving the house i must check the diaper bag for diapers, wipes, and a new set of clothes. if i don't, that will be the day that a blowout happens in target, and i'll have to buy keane some new pants…[not that i've had this exact experience or anything.]
i've learned that in one sense toys are really overrated. he always wants to play with things that are not his toys - remotes, the xbox, pens, packing peanuts, receipts, our shoes, bexley's toys, the list goes on.
i've learned that most things are a lot harder to do when you have a baby, but overall life is better.

i've learned that even when it seems that God's timing sucks, it is still perfect.

of course this is nowhere near the end of the things that i have learned. and trying to catalogue them sort of makes me realize how futile the attempt really is. but, life is a process of learning, and parenting is no exception. i hope i don't ever forget that.



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