Parenting can surprise you. We all know that. But it also can surprise you in the things you learn about yourself. I’ve come to think about and realize two surprises about myself recently.
The first surprise came to mind after I read a horrible story of a mother who was pregnant with twin boys who killed herself because she wanted a girl so badly. She left behind two boys she already had and those boys now will never know their true mother. The article did say the mother had psychiatric issues and was on medication which had to be changed when she became pregnant but was still a very sad story.
This caused me to think back to when my wife and I were pregnant with my daughter. It took us a very long time to be successful with having a child. The whole time I was dreaming of being a father to a boy. Someone who I could picture myself out playing catch with, coaching his sports teams, and going to sporting events with him. I even envisioned the day when he would be considering leaving college early to go on to a multimillion dollar contract in the NFL. How mom and I would be in disagreement, me telling him to leave school early and take the money because your very next play could be your last due to injury. And of course mom would be urging him to complete his degree and wait on the money.
When we finally got to the point where we were able to find out the sex on the baby they found out it was a girl. I was disappointed. Not because I didn’t think I wouldn’t love a girl or would be any less of a father to a girl. It just wasn’t what I had pictured all along through our process.
The surprising part comes from the fact that now I look back on that disappointment and see how silly it truly was. Sure, mom and I will probably never have that disagreement about whether our daughter should stay in school or leave early for the big bucks of the NFL. But she has turned out to love playing sports and I have coached three of her teams now with another one we are registered for in January. She likes to watch sports and go to sporting events with me. But I have also been blessed with enjoying things I would probably never of had the opportunity to enjoy with a boy. Tea parties, playing dolls, dance recitals, gymnastics, and probably many other things that I am overlooking. The thought has occurred to me that maybe God only has plans for me to be a father to one child since we have yet to be successful with a second and this was his way of allowing me to enjoy the joys of both. It wouldn’t be the first time, and probably not the last time, a disappointment has turned out to be a blessing from God in disguise.
The second surprise occurred to me today. We had our daughters parent/teacher conference at her preschool this morning. During the conference the teacher was telling us how our daughter was ready to start kindergarten and we discussed how since mom was not doing classes next quarter that this was the last week coming up that she would be joining them in preschool.
My wife has often said I show no emotion for anything outside of Ohio State football. And I would have to agree I am not an emotional person. But just thinking of my daughter growing up so quickly, leaving preschool, anticipating her entering kindergarten soon. I was overcome with emotion when thinking about it. I was sad and proud all at the same time when thinking about how quickly she was growing and how much she has already learned. Seems like just yesterday she was coming home from the hospital. I never pictured myself being one becoming emotional about things like how quickly she is growing up. That’s the moms job, not the dads.
Has anyone found that pause button to slow them down in the growing process? I think there are probably a lot of parents out there who would pay a lot of money for the secret formula!