Parenting is filled with all kinds of ups and downs. Moments that are filled with excitement and joy, and other moments are filled with fear and terror. When Casey was pregnant with Addie, I had no idea what to expect from being a parent. Prior to that time, I hadn’t had much interaction with kids and that was largely because I felt uncomfortable around them. My parents tried to get me to hold my sisters’ kids when they were newborns, but I never felt comfortable doing so and I didn’t look comfortable doing it either. Picturing me as a parent had to scare a few people in my family, and it scared me too. But once Addie was placed in my arms everything changed, and I’ve had many wonderful moments because of it. I’ve also discovered there are some aspects of parenthood that are more rewarding than others. Here are 6 of the most rewarding aspects of parenthood that I’ve experienced so far as a father:
1. The Birth
Nothing has been as rewarding as witnessing the birth of both of my daughters. The panic and the fear that came with every moment before they came into this world was indescribable, and then all that fear and panic was followed up with sheer joy and love. The two best moments of my life happened when my two daughters came into this world. As they were placed on that warming table to be cleaned off, I couldn’t look away and I had to sneak touches in to make sure they were both real. If the rest of parenthood was filled with nothing but miserable moments, I would still have a child just so I could experience that joy that comes during childbirth.
2. Finding Comfort and Help From the Other Parent
Sadly, this one isn’t going to apply to everyone. Some parents end up dealing with all of the difficulties and joys that come with parenting without anyone at their side to share in those moments. My wife travels quite a bit leaving me here for four or five days alone with the kids to deal with them all by myself and it’s really tough, but it’s nothing compared to what real single parents have to do. Regardless, I’ve found that being able to share the special moments with my wife is one of those rewarding aspects of parenthood. In those special moments as parents we can look at each other and laugh at something one of the kids did, and we can completely understand what the other is feeling at that moment. We also get to lean on each other in difficult times, through medical scares, homework struggles, and other struggles. Learning to be a better parent alongside my wife has been one of my favorite aspects of parenthood.
3. The Mornings
I love the mornings. I don’t love getting up early in the morning and beginning all the stresses that come with each day, but I love seeing my kids for the first time in the morning. Every morning when I get to see Vivi standing in her crib begging to get out. I can’t help but feel excited to pick her up and give her a hug. She likes to begin each day with some random off the wall comment like, “Do you have a waffle for me,” or, “I feel green.” It’s the same with Addie, minus the crib and the random off the wall comments. I’m the one who gets up in the morning with Addie to get her off to school, so on most mornings I get to have breakfast with her, and it’s always one of the better parts of my day. Those are moments that are unique to just us, and they’ll be moments she’ll remember when she’s grown and gone with kids of her own.
4. Watching Kids Succeed
As a parent,I want to see my kids succeed in life and that includes all those little victories that come along the way. A 100% on a spelling test. A new trick in gymnastics. A new word and an ability to do a somersault. All of those things are little victories that are rewarding to watch. When I moved away from my parents’ home, my dad sent me a letter that explained what he would miss most about me not living there anymore. He wrote that he would miss going to the school to watch me play football with my friends during lunch recess. I had no idea he would stop at school and watch as I played sports with my friends. Now that I have my own kids, I can understand why that would top his list. Addie is in gymnastics, and with each new thing she learns, I get excited to watch her finally nail the trick. Same goes with Vivi as she learns to do new things with her body and her words as a toddler.
Birthdays are special, because it’s a day where my kids see how happy we are that they were born. It’s one of those days where I can really see on their faces an acknowledgement that they know we are happy they are in our lives. Also, watching kids get presents on their birthdays is exciting. Seeing the excitement on their faces as they open a present to find a surprise that they had been hoping for is especially rewarding.
6. Watching Their Personalities Develop
One of the most enjoyable parts of being a parent has been discovering my kids’ personalities as they grow older. I’m positive Addie is going to end up being one of those kids in school who studies and pays attention trying to get an A on every test and piece of homework all while trying to please almost everyone around her. At this point in life, that seems to be her personality. Who knows, though, the kid could enter the sixth grade and completely change. Addie’s personality, although not as quickly as it did before, is still developing and I’m excited to see who she is going to become. Vivi, on the other hand, is likely going to be the stubborn class clown who loves to make her friends laugh. That kid’s personality seems to develop almost by the hour, and it’s one of my favorite stages of toddlerhood.
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