Becoming a parent teaches you a lot about yourself.
There are truths I have learnt that I was not prepared to know. Life, of course, doesn’t care about that, it throws you in the deep end and expects you to swim.
I think it’s why I can’t help but flash a knowing smile every time I talk to a newly pregnant friend. They have all the joy, and hope and nervousness that I had too.
They also have the naïveté that is so comforting during those preparation months.
I see the same smile on the faces of mothers who are two, three or four kids in. On mothers who have kids in school and daycare. And mothers with teens.
I can tell they’re all looking at me and reflecting on what it was like when they were at my stage, when my issues were their issues too, when my joys and triumphs were theirs. To be honest, they’re probably also thinking “the best, and the worst, is yet to come”.
I’ve learnt about letting go of control. I’ve learnt how super organisation can save your sanity. How scary it is to be teaching your kid to be a good human, and that on reflection, I’ve got the wisdom it’s just hard to remember it sometimes. I’ve learnt that you can never give up, no matter how dead tired you are. And I’ve surprised myself by being more of a crunchy mama, when I never thought I’d ever be (although tbh I’m probably more scrunchy than crunchy).
But what about the things our kids teach us?
I had an “ah ha” moment on the playground last weekend.
It was cold so we were rugged up, and it was the last place I wanted to be. I was tired, my feet hurt, my bones could feel the cold. But all around me, I realised that kids don’t care about the cold, or the wet, or the dirt. They just revel in adventure. New things. Nature. New spaces. New places. Laughter. Fun.
The pure joy on Mackenzie’s face when she was on the swing was.. astounding, to me. I’m pretty sure that NOTHING in life gives me the same level of joy and exhilaration that she felt in that moment. It was beautiful and oddly devastating, because I know that eventually life, to her, will become ordinary and grey. She’ll lose the newness of life. The excitement. The adventure. Everything will be old.
How do we keep that zest for life? That essence of being innocent, and beautifully naïve? I don’t know the answer, but I’m guessing we need to notice and remember as often as we can that being joyful is not just for the young. By watching them, we can remember what it is to be happy.
Isn’t that the best part of life? Finding joy, every day?
What things have your kids taught you?