I still can’t believe it.
She’s a whole year old. She shrugged off her babyhood with her birthday. She may not know how significant that is, but I do.
I’m not going to lie that the past year has changed my life completely. Looking in from the outside I saw parenthood with rose-tinted glasses. Even with my smug preparation of books, NCT classes and having ‘inside knowledge’ from family having children (and me once being a child myself), I can say with honesty that nothing prepares you.
Nothing prepares you for the sleepless nights and how 4 hours consecutive sleep now requires a fist pump celebration. The genuine concern you have over the shade and texture of poo. The truly disgusting things that you do that are now perfectly acceptable – bum sniffing as personification of parenthood if ever I saw one. The way you feel compelled to take at least 200 photos a day so as not to miss a moment.
No, from the outside, these moments are all things you say “ha, I won’t ever do that”. I’m sorry past version of me, but you will.
From the outside you only see the idealistic moments. The ones that are shown on Instagram, or we choose to share on Facebook of our beautiful lives. The ones where we never have colds, where baby’s never teethe WHICH IS NEVER ENDING and where of course you don’t mutter swearwords under your breath when yet more food is flung on the floor.
Of course not, because that’s the reality of parenting warts and all. It is hard and it’s near to impossible to apprehend just how hard and relentless it is until you’re knee deep in poop.
Real parenting is overwhelming
It’s overwhelming. But it’s also breath taking and amazing. Nothing else in life is so unforgiving yet so rewarding. If anything else in life were so all encompassing, we’d give whatever it was up. But there’s no off button with being a parent. No pause and definitely no rewind… although a good reminisce with a glass of wine is always great!
So we parent on and we feel great about it (sometimes). The best bits for me are watching such a small person learn new skills every single day. It’s awe-inspiring.
Seeing the huge smile on her face as she stands up unaided is all the thanks I need for the hard times. Seeing that she’s developing into such a lovely little girl makes me feel proud to be part of it all.
She may kick and scream at me when she’s angry, gouge out my arm with her tiny fingernails (yeah, that happened on Sunday) and blow raspberries in my face, but she loves me unconditionally. She needs me unconditionally and I’m the centre of her universe… okay… let’s be more accurate daddy is the centre of her universe, I’m slightly off centre.
Nothing has made me be more determined to be a better person than knowing that my every move is being watched. That my actions have a direct implication on the person that she will become.
That’s a lot of responsibility.
Let’s be honest about this though, I don’t have too high expectations… knowing this won’t stop me swearing under my breath, getting angry, or feeling like utter crap some days. But it at least helps me to aim higher.
And that’s something I want to inspire in her for the rest of her life.
The sky is the limit, you just have to work hard to get there.