Being a parent is hard.
I remember bringing you home from the hospital two years ago. You were small and helpless. We felt secure in our abilities, but you were still a lot of work.
It was, at times, hard. There were a lot of sleepless nights. Nursing quickly became quite the chore.
I would never have imagined that what would be the hardest part of being a parent had yet to hit me.
It’s hard to get you to choose healthy foods over peanut butter cookies from Grandpa. It’s hard to convince you that you are safe in your bed, in our home, with Dada and me in the next room, especially when we aren’t entirely sure why you’re upset in the first place. And it’s hard to keep calm when you continue to try to do things we’ve asked you over and over not to (like stand on the dog, open the front door, stand in your dump truck, or go down the stairs by yourself).
The hardest part though, about being a parent, isn’t the difficult or trying times. It’s the sweet, calm moments that I want to last forever.
The baby kisses and silly giggles.
Morning snuggles on the couch watching Simple Songs or Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
It’s wanting to freeze time where it stands, but having to watch you grow up instead.
You’re turning two today. We still have many years together, yet every day it feels like you’re so much closer to moving away and starting a life of your own. I think that’s part of being a parent. Constantly looking toward the future, but trying to savor the present.
I imagine you, handsome and successful, surrounded by your own beautiful family, and it breaks my heart a little.
It’s all that I want in life for you, but I wish I could stop it and keep you my sweet little boy.
As parents, we all know it’s our job to raise you up to take on life. To become your own person.
But that doesn’t make it any less difficult.
And I have no doubt that you will be able to take on the world someday. You will do great things. You have energy, determination, and persistence. Your mind works quickly to comprehend and learn at an amazing pace.
You are strong-willed and feisty. Right now, if I’m being honest, it’s not my favorite of your personality traits, but deep down I love it. You will never be a push-over. You will always ask questions, push limits, and exceed expectations. You already do.
Being a parent has been so rewarding, despite the hard times. It has been the greatest joy of my life to watch you grow. Even though I would love to extend this time with you, I also can’t wait to see who you’ll become.
And so, I find myself in the same paradox all parents are trapped in.
Wanting you to stay little forever and being so excited to watch you grow up. Fortunately, the choice is not mine to make.
Grow up you will, and there is nothing your Dada and I can do to stop it. You’ll flourish and fail. You’ll experience great joy and great heartbreak.
So keep testing boundaries, trying new things, learning and exploring…and growing up.
I’ll be there soaking up every hard and glorious minute of it.