Just over a year ago, I gave birth to my daughter. Those of you who follow my page regularly also know that just over two years ago, my son Prince was murdered. While this blog is certainly not a Mommy blog, this week I would like to take some time to reflect on what being a parent has taught me. In the three and a half years since I became a parent, I have learned more than I could have ever imagined. Both of my children have taught me things that I couldn’t have learned had they not chosen me as their mother. I hope this post helps you to reflect on what the children in your life have taught you – whether you are a parent, an older sibling, a grandparent, an aunt/uncle, or a friend.
Unconditional And Limitless Love: From the moment I felt Prince kick me, I knew that my life would never be the same. I fell in love with him before I even met him, and my love for him seemed to just grow as the days passed. Before I got pregnant with my daughter, I wondered if I would be able to love that way again, especially after such a terrible loss. My son taught me how a child can deepen how you love, and my daughter taught me there are no limits to how much you can love someone.
Tolerance For Nasty: When I was a kid, I thought I would want to be a doctor. This thought was rooted purely in my desire to help people, and I had not considered the nasty factor. As I got older, I realized that other people vomiting in front of me would make me sick and blood freaked me out. In my 20’s, after a coworker threw up in my car after a party, I realized that I was never meant to deal with that level of nasty. Then, I had children. Both of my children have gotten me over my fear of nasty by forcing me to handle snot, explosive poop, spit up, and vomit on a near regular basis. When your child is sick, there is no time to freak out about them pooping on you.
The Power of Dance: In the interest of full disclosure, I am a terrible dancer. To make matter worse, I had to grow up as a half-black girl whom everyone assumed must be able to dance because I was brown. I felt like an asian person who was bad at math. Because I was never good at dancing, I stopped doing it for fear of the extreme judgement I would get when it was clear that I had not gotten the rhythm gene. Then, I had children. Both of my kids love to dance. Prince would break out into what I called his “monkey dance” any time he heard music, and sometimes even when the music was just playing in his own head. His sister Stela is equally as infatuated with dancing. The two of them has taught me that regardless of how ridiculous you look when you dance, dancing brings happiness.
Appreciation of The Little Things: Before kids, I didn’t fully appreciate the value of a warm cup of coffee. Sure, I loved coffee before kids; however, there is nothing like the feeling you get when you have the time to enjoy your coffee while it’s still warm. I have also learned to appreciate moments of quiet, or the rare afternoon nap that I actually get to take with my daughter (usually this is the time when I am cleaning up after her or rushing to get other things done). Not having as much time to yourself makes you truly appreciate things like enjoying a nice meal, or drinking coffee in peace.
You Don’t Need As Much Sleep As You Think: When I was in college, I would frequently complain about sleep deprivation. I didn’t realize, though, that what I felt back then was just the tip of the iceberg. After pulling an all nighter for that chemistry exam, I could come back to my dorm and pass out for hours before I needed to be anywhere. Now, after being kept awake all night with the baby, there is no opportunity to just sleep until my next exam. You can’t skip class on your baby.
Life Is Full Of Magic: Having children makes everything seem a bit more magical. One of my favorite things about being a parent is watching my children experience something for the first time. The joy they both got when they took their first steps, smelled a flower for the first time, or had a taste of a sour lemon. Children live life to the fullest. If people never lost the ability to do this, there would be so much more joy in the world. Having children, has allowed me to experience that magic again.
Faith: I saved this one for last because it is one of the most powerful lessons I have learned from my children. I didn’t get a chance to see my son grow up. He didn’t have as many firsts as he should have because he didn’t even live long enough to have a second birthday. That said, that child showed me that everyone has a purpose. I truly believe that he came on a mission, and he chose me as his mother. After having my daughter, there are moments when I see her do things that make it seem as though she had long discussions with Prince in heaven before coming here.
I talk a lot on my blog about my vehement disgust for those who abuse children. It is hard for me to understand why someone would treat someone who is able to bring so much joy – so poorly. Being a parent is not easy. Loving someone so deeply can be terrifying, and many people are put in a position (as I was) where they are not legally allowed to protect their children. Though it hasn’t been easy, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Knowing Prince for even 15 months made me a better person, and a better mother. Getting the chance to raise his sister has made me the happiest version of myself I have ever known.
I have two children – one is my angel in heaven, and the other is my angel here on earth.