If someone asked me now “What is being a parent like?”, I know my answer.
Truly, it is.
I look at the news and see stories of people giving up, people fighting strong, people being beaten down, people breaking barriers. Robin Williams, an amazing mind and great talent, kills himself. Someone finds a baby in a trash can. Someone beats a puppy to spite his girlfriend. A woman wins a great mathematics award. We save two people from Ebola. An underdog wins. We throw ourselves into another war. Rare leopard cubs are born.
The world is huge, and scary, and I don’t know what it’s going to continue to become. There are many great, good people in the world. But it only takes one bad person to flip a life upside down.
I stare into y girl’s eyes. She has no fears at this age. She is pure, and open, and the world is nothing but an exciting shiny newness. She hoots at me, and then breaks into a big gummy laugh….just because I look at her and Smile.
But that will change. I’m overjoyed at the idea of watching her learn the world. To see it through her eyes.
But I’m also afraid for her to see the bad parts. The sad things. The first time someone is mean to her. When she tries to make friends with someone who doesn’t want to be friends. When she sees something sad, and asks me “Why, Mommy?” When I filter things to her level of understanding, because sometimes the truth is too scary for little minds.
Parenting is also heartbreaking…simply because you stretch your heart to an amazing new capacity. I am a lover, always have been. I love my family, my friends, my husband, my animals. Those are all different types of love.
Then there’s my child. My child. I created this tiny bundle of light and freedom. i am her world. I am the only thing that she has consistently seen, touched, and heard every single day of her life. She is entirely dependent upon me. And I feel, at times, that my soul is entirely dependent on hers.
And that has its own fears. What if something happens to me? What if something happens to her? We will continue onwards, both of us, without the other. But our lives would be impossible to fix. The gaping hole there would be a chasm that could never be filled.
So parenting is heartbreaking. It’s a roller coaster. It’s a confluence of paradices. And it’s amazing and beautiful and worth every moment.