Thursday, September 25, 2008

What Lies Ahead

I've often heard parents say that, looking back, dealing with an infant is so much easier than dealing with an older child. This statement used to strike fear into my heart-- it is no secret how difficult and draining I have found parenthood to be, especially those first 3-6 months. However I also am starting to see how it is probably very, very true.

One of the more shocking aspects of becoming a parent is the incredible weight and permanency of this responsibility you have taken on. I will be responsible for Donovan every day of my life for the next 18 years. He will be in my life, every day, front and center. Sometimes that's a difficult thing to wrap my head around. I feel that we have gotten to a bit of a honeymoon period. Yes, I'm exhausted still from waking multiple times a night, but he's overall so happy and playful and so incredibly, impossibly cute, that daily life with him has gotten to be pretty fun. Heck, sometimes he even lets me take care of other things while he happily plays with his toys. He's an utter joy, and life is relatively simple right now.

But I look ahead at the future, and while I look forward to the toddler years and beyond-- it will be so much fun to see him exploring the world in new ways and learning so much-- part of me also almost dreads it. Soon we will need to start worrying about disciplining him. Teaching him right from wrong, manners, empathy, etc. Figuring out the house and life rules we want to instill and enforce, and not only trying to get him to follow them but making sure we do as well so that we set the proper example. So much of the person he is to become depends on my actions with and around him, and that is a responsibility that at times can feel crippling in its vastness. I Am Responsible For The Outcome Of This Human Being. That's HUGE.

I know Zach and I are up for the task-- we have to be. Between personal experiences, books, and friends and family, I know we have the means to figure out how to deal with situations as they come up and try to do the best thing for Donovan. I also know that motherhood will likely continue to be the biggest challenge of my life, as well as the biggest joy. The two seem to go hand in hand.

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