Sunday, June 12, 2011

Parenting, Inc.

Oh, how I love the public library. Let me count the ways. It's nice and cold. It feels like shopping, which makes it free retail therapy.  And reading is pretty much the perfect activity (besides standing in the refrigerator section of the grocery store) for these last few hot, hot, hot weeks of pregnancy.

I just finished reading Parenting, Inc. by Pamela Paul. I picked it out because I wanted to read a parenting-themed book yet somehow the typical get-ready-for-being-a-parent book doesn't exactly hit the target for me. There aren't tons of books out there for parents expecting their second child (especially ones who lost their first child), I've realized, mostly because parents expecting their second child don't normally have time to read, I'm guessing. Anyway, I had already tackled multiple books about raising a bilingual child (for some reason, I feel like I should give this a try), speech development, and my favorite NurtureShock. Anyway, Parenting, Inc. promised to be an entertaining one, and I loved reading it.  In a nutshell, it was all about how we as a society have come to a place where we spend way too much money on our children and we have become big suckers for overscheduling our babies and doing whatever thing/class (baby sign language, baby classes, so on) promises to make our child smarter, faster, more advanced. It was a good reminder of what's important (and what's not!), I thought.

After flipping the last page and closing the cover, I proceeded to tell Mitch how I was so glad that I read it because it just reinforced some of the ways we want to parent.

And then there was a pause in the conversation. We both looked around the living room and, as always is the case, our eyes landed on our beloved photos of our sweet boy. Our Miles who should be here filling our days. Our Miles who captured our hearts and will forever hold his special place in our lives. Our Miles who we watched every moment of four and a half months...just in awe of every little thing about him and just seeing him on the verge of growing up, making it, being with us always. Our Miles who isn't here in the way we dreamed for him to be.

We were silent, letting each other be alone with our thoughts of him.

And then I felt ridiculous for thinking that the book had taught me anything important about being a parent. Miles had already done it. With Miles, we were in parent boot camp. Sure we weren't doing the typical night-time diaper changing, feeding, and burping or many of the typical parent things. We were purely focused on Miles--the happiness of seeing him every day, the significance of every little step forward, the fact that nothing is a sure thing and nothing is to be taken for granted. In his four and a half months, he showed us everything we needed to know. And they were the big lessons. Truly be in the moment. Learn whatever (medical terms galore, baby massage) and do whatever (fly on a medical plane to Michigan, live in The Ronald McDonald House, wait for hours--barely breathing--during surgeries) is needed.  Celebrate life and life's little moments. Do whatever is comforting to my sweet baby even if that means singing in front of nurses, sleeping in a chair for weeks, rocking his booty side-to-side for hours at a time. Insignificant stuff is really silly and insignificant. Let people help. When you can, open your life to others to share the highs and lows with you. Keep praying and hoping yet know that not everything is in my control though I desperately want it to be. Love is stronger than death. Being a mommy is the most magical thing to be...there's just so much really...

"Our sweet boy taught us everything we really need to know about being a parent," was all I could say.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Alicia, this was such an incredibly beautiful post! You're right you guys already know the important stuff and you know it well. The things you have learned are things that can't be taught they are lessons learned through living and with them the best perspective one could possibly have as a parent. Parenting, Inc does sound like a really good book as well!