Tomorrow is celebrated around the world as New Year’s Day 2010. But it’s celebrated at our house as my oldest son’s birthday.
Superdude (his email username picked when roughly 11 years old) was a New Year’s Baby. Due on December 15, he was supposed to be a before Christmas Baby and a 1988 tax write-off too. But 2 ½ weeks after the due date there were no signs that little Superdude was anxious for a change of address so my doctor decided to induce labor. Actually, I had to be induced with both my boys because they both were more than two weeks overdue. I joke that I’d probably STILL be pregnant if they hadn’t forced the little twerps out. I don’t know if they were afraid to come out and meet the parents or if they were just comfortable kickin’ it where they were. Anyway, it was definitely a New Year’s Eve to remember, but finally after 18 hours of labor (and my first New Year’s Eve involving major narcotics) we had a perfect baby boy on January 1, 1989.
Flash-forward to January 1, 2010 - my baby boy is turning 21 years old. I have a son who is 21 years old. I am old enough to have a son that is 21 years old – wow.
Superdude is serving a mission right now (email is Supermissionarydude – no kidding) so I won’t get to see him or talk to him, which is hard for me. But I am really, really grateful that I want to talk to him.
That may sound a little weird – of course I should want to talk to my child. But the reality is not every parent/child relationship is good. I was really worried about this before I had children. I grew up with a lot of younger step and half brothers and sisters and I did A LOT of babysitting from about the age of 8 on up. I admit that I learned a lot of skills being a major babysitter, but I felt like I had been there and done that and was so not interested in having any kids of my own. Plus, and probably more significantly, I had and have some real struggles with my own parents. Those relationships are just hard, sometimes painful and always kind of stressful for me. So there I was, around the time of my own 21st birthday, a young Mormon woman who just wasn’t interested in babies.
But as I’ve told Superdude many times before, someone somewhere realized that the only way I was going to get over my hang-ups was just to get on with it. So even though as a young married woman I was doing all the things you’re supposed to do to avoid having babies (well, almost all the things), I discovered early in 1988 that I was going to be a mom– and I am so grateful.
I have loved being a mom. I’ve come to realize that there were things I needed to learn about myself, about my own childhood, about the relationship with my own parents that I could only discover by being a parent myself. I love my children, but more important than that I think is that I actually like my kids too. I like hanging out with them. I like talking to them and I think that they actually feel the same way about me too – most of the time anyway. It certainly isn’t because I’m the most perfect parent in the world – and they know that for sure. But one of the things I’ve tried to show them is that I know it too. I’ve learned not to be afraid to apologize to my kids, change my approach and let them see and actually help me with the process of trying figure out how to be a parent.
So even though I didn’t think I wanted him, I’m so grateful for the journey that started New Year’s Day 21 years ago. Superdude was my second chance at a great parent-child relationship