Barbara, Like Sadie, I feel like an ambassador for open adoption. My husband Jeff was adopted in 1963 and we adopted a domestic newborn in…...
Adoption Blog: Our Family Grows With Love
Lessons Our Son Has Taught Us
I was at work recently, sorting through the overwhelmingly large stack in my inbox, and I glanced up at the calendar. There it was staring at me: the date of my son’s second birthday. I could not believe how quickly the last two years had passed. It is hard to remember what our lives were like before Max.
As parents, one of our many jobs is to teach our children, starting with the fairly simple and growing to the more complex as they mature. Because we are the first teachers our son will ever have and because he will learn so much by the way we lead our lives, my husband and I take our responsibilities very seriously.
As I looked at the calendar that day, the thought that came to mind wasn’t about what we have taught our son over the last two years. Instead, I began to think about what our son has taught us.
Our son has taught us…
How to enjoy the moments that allow us to be children again, to recapture the childhood pleasures—playing matchbox cars, coloring, having a midday dance party, wearing funny hats, laughing so hard your tummy hurts—that faded away too quickly with adulthood.
That smiling and saying hello to a stranger can have a very powerful impact. On errands, he likes to do just that with strangers we encounter. If we pass them multiple times, he smiles and says hello multiple times. The smiles that spread across the faces of those he talks to make me beam with pride.
How to find the wonder in everyday things. As we drive home in the rain, he turns his smiling face up, pointing out the window and saying "rain." He listens to it hit the car, dancing in his car seat as if he were listening to a symphony.
Not to take ourselves too seriously. As a family, we love running through the sprinkler in the backyard on a hot summer’s day, layering on our clothes and playing out in the snow on a winter's day, and jumping in puddles after a good rain. Who cares what other people may say or think? We are too busy making memories.
How to love on a whole new level. Being a parent is a hard, demanding, 24-hours-a-day job. All we need is a glimpse at our son's sweet face, the sound of his laughter, the pitter-patter of his feet as he runs through the house, or just the thought of him to cross our minds to feel that overwhelming sense of love that is unique between parent and child. This is the hardest job, the job we will love the most.
The joy in witnessing others tackle a challenge head on. We will all achieve numerous accomplishments throughout our lives. Few of mine or my husband's individual accomplishments will be as rewarding as watching our son learn how to crawl, seeing him advance to taking his first steps, and listening to him saying his first word.
Patience and prioritization. Sometimes going to the park is more important than laundry or a trip to the library is more important than doing the dishes. Cuddling on the couch as we read a story together is more important than mopping the kitchen floor. All those things will be there after he is in bed for the night.
The value of an active imagination. Anything can be made into a car, so long as you make the vrrrooom sound and push it along the floor. Anything can be a telephone if you hold it to your ear and say "hello." Anything can be made into a hat, so long as it fits on your head.
How to leave our worries on the doorstep before entering the house. A stressful day at work can be washed away in a matter of moments when you are greeted at the door with his excited little voice shouting "Mommy!" or "Daddy!"
A new respect and admiration for our own parents. Being a parent means to forever have your heart walking around on the outside of your body. We are now more thankful than ever to have our parents in our lives.
Max’s second birthday came and went in style, with our little family of three celebrating Max. The weekend after his birthday, we were fortunate enough to celebrate with extended family at a party in Max’s honor. Watching him interact with his grandparents, aunts, and cousins made us incredibly happy. I couldn’t help but wonder what our parents may have learned from us or what their parents may have learned from them.
Happy birthday, Max! And thank you, my sweet son, for being such a wonderful teacher. Hopefully some day you will feel the same about us.
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