The Other Side of Nine Things

Kaylee Scottaline wrote a beautiful piece that appeared in the Huffington Post today, The 9 Things I Didn't Know I'd Love About Being A Parent. Please go ahead and read it. It will absolutely resonate, especially if you're a new parent. And then come back here.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Okay, I see you’re back. That means you either read Scottaline’s piece, or you’re cheating. Frankly, I don’t care which. No judgments here, it’s just that what I’m about to say will make more sense if you’ve read Scottaline’s piece.

Scottaline has one young daughter. I have two older boys (ages 14 and 24). This makes our parenting experiences very different (Scottaline makes no reference, for example, to occasionally wanting to strangle her child). And while there are myriad differences between parenting a child you can seat on your lap, and one who is already taller than you, there are plenty of similarities between the unexpected joys she’s experiencing, and the ones I am.

Take #1. I absolutely still feel a sense of pride when one of my sons learns a new skill. But these days it’s more like striking out a batter with a high, inside fastball, or making the honor roll, or getting a driver’s license. (Okay, that last one is both pride and terror.)

Or #7. While my “little ones” don’t “giggle” a whole lot these days, seeing them smile or laugh can still be the highlight of the day. “And a snuggle and unprompted kiss?” Not gonna happen.

Good news regarding #3; you eventually get your sleep back. As they became teenagers, both my boys took to hibernating, especially on weekends. It’s great, trust me.

I agree with Scottaline’s closing sentiment. Yes, parenting is hard. And it gets harder. “It’s the most difficult and important task any of us will undertake.” Yep, and it gets more difficult. Or at least, the difficulties have a different flavor.

Parenting is a journey, and we’re all at different points of it. As the years go by, the challenges can become daunting—especially when the temper tantrums come laced with profanity--I hope Scottaline will find it reassuring to know, however, that some things never change.