There’s something growing inside my wife. A living, breathing, heartbeat-having creation.
That creation is currently about 37 weeks. It has a name. He has a name.
His name is Aidan Robert, and he’s scheduled to leave the comfort and relative darkness of my wife’s womb on August.
I wonder what he’ll be like. I wonder if he’ll have his mother’s eyes or his father’s lack of a defined chin. I wonder if he’ll be sweet like my wife or if he’ll have my temper.
Regardless, we will soon set foot on the lifelong path of parenting.
The last month or so, he has been extremely active. He moves constantly. He seems to have a potential future in martial arts or soccer, as he spends most of his hours working on his kicking prowess (much to the chagrin of my wife).
The whole process has made me view the world differently – particularly when it come to parenting. It’s made me examine myself and life itself in ways that I’ve never done before.
Parenting opportunities pop up all the time. I see a kid acting up in a grocery store, and I ask myself, “How would I resolve that situation?” I hear stories about the parenting mishaps of others and wonder (sometimes aloud) if I could have managed things more efficiently.
In my mind, I’ve already won “Father of the Year,” but deep down, I know parenting is not going to be that easy.
Parenting Past as Prologue
Luckily, I had parents who set the parenting bar high for me.
I was the first and eldest of seven kids. Much was expected of me. I used to always think my parents were strict and hard on me, just for the sake of doing so. Now that I look back on things, I’m infinitely grateful.
I’m grateful that I had parents who were more interested in being my mom and dad more than they were interested in being my friend or being cool. I’m grateful they loved me enough to discipline me when I fell out of line. I’m grateful that they were honest with me, so I didn’t grow up thinking I could do no wrong.
In reference to how she raised me, my mom would always say, “We did the best we knew how, until we learned how to do better.”
It sounds simple and “down home,” but it’s so true. I was their first. I didn’t come with a manual (though nowadays, you can pretty much buy one). They made mistakes. They learned things through trial and error.
Fatal Parenting Fears
One of my biggest fears is that I’ll make mistakes that will scar my son for life. I can be a rigid person. I think that’s fairly typical of a first-born, particularly with a large family.
When Mom and Dad weren’t around, I was the boss. Things had to be a certain way. I never varied from that.
I want to teach my son discipline, but I want to do it in a way that drives the rebellion out of him, and doesn’t drive him away from me (or from God). It’s a tender balance.
My wife and I are going to make mistakes. My son is not going to be perfect. All of that is okay.
I’ll do the best I know how, until I learn how to do better.
Question: What mistakes did your parents make? Were you able to overcome them?
EdiTOR’s Note: Our family recently delivered our third child. As such, some blogging buddies of mine have graciously offered to write a series of guest posts to allow my family to spend a little time together – away from this blog. I’m deeply grateful for such friends, and I hope you enjoy their writing!
Kevin Haggerty is a teacher, writer, husband and soon-to-be father who makes his home in Gloucester, Virginia. He writes regularly at his blog http://www.theisleofman.net. Click HERE to follow him on Twitter.