I remember it like it was yesterday, standing at the nurses station at Deaconess Hospital, getting ready to be discharged. Unbelievably, they were going to let me walk out of that place with a human being. Of course they gave us a sheet with a few reminders about taking home a newborn, but seriously????
There was a part of me that wanted to scream out… “YOU GUYS ARE IDIOTS!!!” In so many ways, I was just learning how to take care of myself… in fact, in hindsight, I had a whole lot of issues that still needed to be worked out. And yet, here I was taking responsibility for another human being!
In many ways I’m glad I didn’t fully understand the magnitude of what I didn’t understand (did that even make sense?). But literally, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I just knew that I wanted to do right by this child of mine. Alyse, is what we chose to name her. Alyse – my wife’s middle name. I always loved her middle name; now my oldest child would carry it as her first name!
Three things I never want to forget about that day…
- The absolute amazement of new life. With all the debate over life and women’s rights, sometimes lost in the battle, is the shear wonder of a newborn. I was exhausted when Alyse was finally born. We had been in the hospital for 24 hours before she popped her head out. I remember getting to cut her umbilical cord. It was like a light switch was flipped… her eyes opened and she was looking at her parents! Trust me, at that moment, new life turned exhaustion into elation!
- The appreciation of my one and only! I know over the years I have taken Kelli for granted. But whenever I recall the birth of my children, I’m always thankful anew for her. It’s not just the discomfort she lives with for 9 months… it’s not even the amazing work she does during the actual birth, although it’s incredible. I’ve often joked if men were the ones birthing kids there would be a lot of only children! When I think back on those eight wonderful events (my eight kids), I’m grateful for the way Kelli instantly turned into “mom”… not a human that birthed another human… but “mom”.
- How scared I was of messing up. I’m not sure that’s exactly accurate. But each birth I remember leaving the hospital feeling challenged and scared for this new responsibility. Looking back, I know some of the pressure was misplaced. But, the challenge of not wanting to “screw” my kid up, has been great motivation my entire parenting career. I would love to tell you that I worked hard at being a dad solely because I loved God and I loved my kids. Certainly that was part of it, but a big factor was the fear of messing up. It served as fuel to drive me as a dad and today it continues to inspire me as a coach/teacher of parents and even as a grandparent.
What stands out when you think about the birth of your children? Recently, it seems we’ve had a lot of babies born in our family (2 grandbabies), in our church, and in our extended family. And of course each baby re-reminds me of my own experience. What do you remember about the day you brought your first child home from the hospital? Leave a comment with your story.
By the way, if you’ve ever worried about how you were doing as a parent, then you might be interested in our free video series, “How to Raise Successful Kids!” Last week we released the first video talking all about GRIT – the single best predictor of our children’s future success. In case you’re wondering, YES, you need to raise kids with grit! In video 1, we explain why and then give you some practical tools to actually do it.
We’ve just released the second video in the series… it’s all about the common practice many parents do that actually undermines raising kids with GRIT. And in case you’re wondering, YES, you need to stop doing this common practice, if that’s you. Find out what it is and some specific things you can do to avoid making this mistake. Click here to access Video 2 and also have access to Video 1 if you missed it.
After you watch the video, we’d love to know what you think. Is this an issue in your parenting? How much GRIT does your child have? Thanks for being a part of the Axis Family… we hope you’ll share this with your friends.