Cherish your children’s early years This post originally appeared on the Life of Dad Website….written by CJ Antonucci
Since I started blogging a several months ago, I have enjoyed minor successes and personal triumphs. I’m sure it’s nothing compared to the more experienced and veteran writers out there, but they are mine and they keep me writing. For the past month I have attempted to immerse myself in the world of the blogging community by engaging the different writing styles of my fellow bloggers, by following and reading as many blogs as possible, and writing as much as I can. Each time I start to write a new blog I am hoping to improve upon my writing style, say something new and interesting or somehow, through my humor or experience, help someone who may relate to the feelings in my blog. I’ve decided that, after three blogs, I should say something about me and why I write about the things I do.
I am sure that many bloggers will agree that content is the lifeblood for any writer no matter what medium we choose to write in. Given that I’ve only been a parent for a little over 18 months my content is, for lack of a better word, regurgitated and has that “been there before” feel to some readers. While I could apologize for this, I absolutely will not.
We as parents/bloggers have all experienced many of the same things that I have written about (click here to see my series of blogs). We have experienced these moments within our own context, our idiocracies, and most importantly, with our loved ones. Our unique experiences are what makes raising our children special to us. I can only hope to provide enjoyment to my readers by peeling back that layer of commonality of instance and by exposing the uniqueness of the moment. Yet, I still strive to allow the reader an opportunity to relate and to smile or laugh when they read something familiar and know that they are not alone. Through observing my friends and family, I’ve noticed that, even with several children (bless your souls mom and dad – I will NOT be having four children), the instances are the same. The difference is in the way we experience and grow from these events – milestones, disasters (real or imagined), and growing pains – that define us as parents. The way my wife and I choose to maneuver through this windy section of highway called parenthood is what defines our family unit. Not only does it make us reflect on how we are to each other as individuals within the family, but it gives us the opportunity to tell our “remember when…” family stories; the ones often told with the people who know us best as they love to hear about the tumultuous and embarrassing episodes we have been through.
It is FUN, its more fun when its my wife and the diaper is full!!
Oftentimes, my wife and daughter will listen to my mother tell stories of the moments she experienced with me and my brothers. One of my favorite stories has to do with my potty training phase and how, according to my mother, I “used to empty out all the toys in the toy box, place his potty in there and go so that no one could see him.” (I guess even back then I knew the value of pooping privacy!) This story, now that I can relate as we start to potty train our daughter (not in the toy box), brings light to the topic and reassures me that each child has their own way of learning, and in due course, will get where they need to be. It is the ways by which children get to the point that we set them towards and the ways that it affects us that we should be concentrating on. It is through these stories parents can learn and experience the not-so green grass on the other side, the success that seems almost out-of-reach, and the common bonds we share as caregivers to our young.
As I mature and my child matures with me (it may end up being the reverse situation), my “wisdom” will come. I will have experienced moments consisting of more than changing dirty diapers (which we need to light a candle for), cleaning sticky fingers, listening to frustrated cries, and the giving of my total attention. However, I don’t want to lose her sweet smiles, innocent faces of awe and excitement, tender hugs and kisses, and the unconditional love that comes along with these early years. I realize that I may have a limited content selection right now but I am glad that I am taking the opportunity to write about it. Writing is what helps me to reflect on these moments and allows me to appreciate and cherish them more. I look forward to it every single day.
A friend of mine who lives in DC, and does not yet have children said something to me (well not to me, it was on her blog and on Facebook so, of course, I thought she was talking to me) and it took me aback. She labeled it “Baby Shaming”. The blog threatened parents about the “horrible future ahead”. As a new parent, seeing the phrases, “enjoy it while it lasts!” or, “you think you’re tired now? ha!” was disheartening. Aside from the unnecessary anxiety that may have been placed into the minds of people who might be thinking of starting a family, this fear-mongering to new parents was insensitive and, if you ask me, complete bullshit. How about a little “it gets AWESOMER?” Because from where I sit, it does, each and every day!
I look nothing like that – that is the reality
As one might be able to tell, the blog struck a chord with me and has echoed through my thoughts over the past week. The anger, or fear, made me pay attention to the things that both new and seasoned parents sometimes say out of frustration. I know that we have all had our moments when our child hasn’t slept through the night for what feels like years. Many of us have left behind the time of going out and getting hammered till two in the morning and then proceeding to sleep until two the next afternoon. I have begun to see the traps parents create for others when they tell anyone who will listen that the ‘fun part’ of their lives are over. I will be the first to admit that when I first had my daughter I was fearful of the same thing. I expressed to my wife and any parents that would listen that I was frustrated on countless occasions. However, now is my chance to make amends; to say something that I know in my heart from experience. Having a child is the MOST rewarding experience I have ever had. Not only that but, the experience DOES get more and more awesome – diapers give way to toilets, sticky fingers give way to hand washing, the need for attention turns to independence. I can only hope that hearing the cries don’t hurt as much and that the tenderness and unconditional love remains and only gets stronger as my children become young adults.
Give them the best childhood that you can. Make it last as long as possible
What I am saying is love the time you have with your little ones because, it’s true: the time goes by so fast you can definitely miss it. If those times for you are gone, and there are no more children in your life, I can only hope that through following my blog and reading my stories you will be reminded of those feelings for your kids when they were toddlers and young children – it may help offset the feelings you now have for them as teenagers. (I’m just kidding. I hear having a teenager is the best.) Hopefully it will remind you about the love and complete wonder you experienced when you held them in your arms for the first time, watched them take their first steps, or heard them say the most important first word, “dada.”
Show your kids how important they are to you and that you value them as people (little people)
Let’s not allow society to pressure us into making our kids grow up faster than they need to. More importantly, don’t let the idea of “just getting through it” allow for us miss this opportunity to experience our children in a way we will never get back again. Once they are grown, once they have their friends, spouses, pets and children of their own they won’t need us in the same ways that we need them. And they definitely won’t need us the way they needed us once, forever ago.
As always I want to thank you for reading. It sure is hard to publish a new article every week, but I hope that you are enjoying them as much as I enjoy writing them.
Please join me on Twitter @cjnuch0712 – also there will be some new and exciting changes coming soon, so please be on the look out. I am always looking for comments and feedback so don’t be shy. Have a great week and Stay Classy, Awesome Parents!!