“I’d walk through fire for my daughter. Well not FIRE, because it’s dangerous. But a super humid room. But not too humid, because my hair.” —Ryan Reynolds via Twitter
The school year has begun and I have moved my daughter to college. Another parenting first. Nailed it. *High five.*
As new as this all was, I couldn’t help but feel I had been here before. The more I thought about it and read about it, the more research I performed on Ryan Reynold’s Twitter account—who, in case you missed it or don’t bother with Twitter, is one of the best parent-tweeters I’ve come across—the closer I inched to the truth.
I had been here before. On an icy winter morning in 1998, when I packed up an overnight bag, a couple of balloons, and an infant human sporting a tiny red knit hat, into the car.
When we got home and this little person was inside of the house, completely in my care, I know I felt exactly what this soon-to-be-classic Reynolds tweet expressed: “Nothing better than spending an entire morning staring into my baby daughter’s eyes, whispering, I can’t do this.”
That was to be the first time. It was not, however, to be the only time.
On a humid August morning, 18 years later, I stood in my bedroom, gripping a packing list, repeating nearly the same mantra of anxiety and truth: “Nothing better than spending the entire morning staring at my daughter’s college packing list, whispering, I can’t do this.”
Looking back all those years ago, I was a nervous wreck bringing the baby home. I didn’t want to leave the hospital room. I wanted the long check-out process to draw out another day or two. I wanted to lie in bed and eat pudding. I wanted to hold her, feed her, cuddle and love on her, then push the magic button that summoned a nurse. A hero nurse who took my baby to the nursery, allowing me to sleep until the next round of baby time.
It doesn’t work that way. They kicked us out. And we managed.
Parenting is never over. I know it’s true, we all know that, but the reality of it as they become adult people is just another thing that has caught me off-guard. Of course, I don’t want it to be over, but I’m not quite at ease in the transition period.
Every “season of parenting” as they are so philosophically called, recycles the same feelings, but cleverly molds and forms them into new surprises.
What’s new for me as a parent is also new for someone else. And that’s where bits of wisdom from the more observant, or the more creative, maybe, can come in handy.
Taking ourselves too seriously might be where the trouble lies. It’s nice to see ourselves in other people’s battles, especially the funny ones. If you doubt that, I dare you to read these Reynolds tweets and not relate in some way.
“I watched Frozen without my two year old this morning. Despair reveals itself in many forms.”
“It’s important kids eat 5 servings of vegetables daily. Even if childhood is just a dress rehearsal for extraordinary adult suffering.”
“I’m teaching my daughter that the sun goes down each night because it’s mad at her. Probably going to write a book on parenting at some point.”
I tend to take parenting seriously. I worry too much about messing up. Again. But every screw up is performed with good intentions, so points for that.
Nailed it. *High five.*
Shelley Plett is a graphic designer for the Free Press and Kansas Publishing Ventures. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.