First, you are a kid and you take your parents for granted. They annoy you sometimes but when you are in trouble, they are there for you. Therefore, you get a first idea about what a parent is.
Later, when you are a teenager you fight for your independence and to live the life you see fit. Obviously, this is often not in line with your parents plan. In the end, it is your life so you decide for yourself.
You get older and you are a young adult. You realize by now that your parents get older. Your relationship with your parents at that point gets closer again. You think you know what parents do and you think about if you want to become a parent at one point.
Suddenly you are on your way to become a parent and many questions arise. You reflect more and more about your own childhood and get counsel from your own parents. You are confident once the baby is here you will manage well. After all what is so difficult about it. You read books about the topic, you talk to people and you figured this all out…..right.
The moment your firstborn enters this world, you are stumbling through a star gate that takes you to an unknown location. The star gate appears to all new parents and your old life is in that instant traded for the privilege to become a parent, always.
In the beginning, you are full of joy about the new born. All is exciting and shiny. You are still on the same planet and in the same place. However, since you entered the star gate something is different. Your perception completely changed. You remember saying just a couple of weeks ago “Even though I will have kids, I will not change much”.
Little by little, you realize what price you paid for the ticket to enter the star field. Suddenly your circle of friends starts to change. The change happens slow but steady. All of a sudden, you worry about safety in your house but also on the street. What would happen if something happened to you? You sometimes wake up at night thinking about this sort of questions.
At the same time, you love your offspring more than anything you ever experienced. Your relationship with your partner also changes and becomes more seasoned. “Glad I chose someone who is reliable and not just fun at parties”.
After some months, you got used to waking up during the night and changing diapers. By then it dawns on you that your old life is not coming back….ever. This is something you heard people talking about but when it finally happens to you a mix of fear, nostalgia, remorse and melancholy wash over you.
Life is not about you but rather about doing your duty and taking ownership of your family, friends and community. The selfish old life is gone and replaced by chaos, love, little free time, worries, laughs, tears, hopes and a deep feeling of satisfaction. The ocean finally calmed down after a very long storm.
You learn a lot about yourself during this time. You can plan all you want but more important is to cope with it, make the best out of and be present. No matter how annoying it is or how tired you are, spending time with your little one is the most important thing you will ever do in life. Why do I know this? Talk to any parent who has kids that are grown up and you will see.
I always thought I am rational and know more or less what to expect in life. In the case of having children, rationality has no place to exist.
People without children will never understand and that is for their own sake. At the same time they are spared a lot of trouble and work. However, they will miss something essential. It is not something that can be explained except…..
…….all you did was answering the call of nature.