This Monday was my oldest daughter’s birthday.  My (and my husband’s) journey of parenthood started eleven years ago.  Granted, she was with me long before her actual birth-day, but babies are a whole lot easier to take care of when they are still on the inside!

Anyway, this birthday has given me cause to look back at how much I’ve grown as a parent.  We all need to do this sometimes, to give ourselves some credit for hanging on from our fingernails, learning the toughest and most rewarding job on the planet without a manual.

When I think of how I dismissed my husband to go to work that fateful morning, I just have to giggle at myself.  Since “the book” said that mothers are close to delivery when the contractions were just a couple of minutes apart, I thought I was safe.  These were absolutely those fake labor pains I’d heard about.  Eight minutes apart, I can still (mostly) talk, and it’s
three weeks early.  Never mind they’ve been going non-stop for the last eight hours.  I totally have this under control.

Just a few hours later, she was officially brought into the world.  Yep, had it all under control.  Not surprisingly, humility is one of the first lessons we learn as parents.  And just how was I going to turn this screaming tiny thing into a productive college graduate?  Ummm…..

I’m about halfway to that goal right now.  I’ve learned so much I hardly recognize that naive idealistic mom-to-be from way back then.  The depth of the love, the depression I didn’t ask for, the pride and joy that means everything, the amazement at how she discovers things every day – all of this comes with the package deal of parenthood.

Just think how far you had to come, even with all your shortcomings and mistakes, to be the parent you are today.  And even if you know you can make some improvements, you’ve come a long way from “day one.”

Don’t wait until your kid’s birthday comes along to take a quick look over your shoulder.  Look back right now at where you were.  You’ve done more and meant more to your child (or children) than you could ever imagine.  Now look forward – you have so much wisdom to use for the future.

Parents weren’t meant to be perfect, just human.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Double Image Photography