Parents want the world for our baby, we would give them the sun and moon of we could. Every cell in our body as a parent is aimed at protecting and loving this new little person.
And parenting gives us another elation: there is nothing in the world
that can love us so unconditionally and depend on us so unquestioningly as our new little baby.
There are the nights when as new parents we need sleep so desperately, we can hardly even remember our own name; yet, when our baby looks up into our tired eyes, our heart surges like a tidal wave has just swelled inside it. Energy seems to flow from that dependent, loving smile he gives us.
Is there anything in the world that can break a parent’s entire being
easier than the sound of our baby crying and not being able to soothe him?
Is there anything else in the world for which we would easily give our lives, without even pausing beforehand to consider?
But babies are people, developing in their own right. They are not blank
slates or mere clones of us, their parents. They are destined to become
individuals, similar but different; they share our genes but not our destiny.
As parents we have hopes, wishes and aspirations for our children; but a parent’s hopes and dreams might be different from our child’s. As a parent, we can support and direct our child; but we need to be aware of our own needs, our own strengths and our own weaknesses if we are to really give our child the chance to grow to the fullest of their wonderful potential.
As a parent, we must know our own strengths and know when we really are correct and need our child to hear and to heed us. But we also need to be strong enough to admit our mistakes and apologise for them. One of the toughest parts of being a parent has to be accepting that sometimes our child may even know better than we do about a particular situation. It is sometimes terrifying to let go the tight controlling hand as our child becomes an individual in his own right. We feel that same sense of panic as the roller-coaster hurtles down the steepest slope. We’re terrified that the safety straps might not hold and that we could all be plunged headlong into the abyss.
We want to return to that time when the demands were simple and all it took was time and love to nurture and support our little baby. But we need to let go. Perhaps slowly; but definitely and surely. That is how we allow our child to grow into a fully fledged adult, a person who contributes to the world. A person each parent can be unreservedly proud of. The feeling of elation at the end of the roller-coaster ride is only that exhilarating because it was that scary.
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