I was not aware that I wanted to be a Dad as much as I have loved being a Dad. This is not just because of the laughs, the hugs, and all the validation which comes along with it, though they are all wonderful bonus prizes. My love of parenting is not only just the joy that comes with being of service to someone who is not you, though that has its own benefits. I love parenting because through it I have become a better human being. Learning to parent has expanded my love almost to the point of infinity for everyone and everything. Learning to parent has expanded my own limits on what I thought was even possible, which was already a pretty sizable self-evaluation. Through parenting, I have learned lessons I did not know were even available.
Ryan Holiday suggests that in life “The Obstacle is the Way”. No more is this true than when you first become a parent. For mothers, nothing could be truer than from the first moment of conception when you feel that things have definitely changed. Try as you might to control what is going to happen, there is nothing you can do affect what is going to happen next. For one week all you can eat are pomegranate seeds (true story) and the next week they repulse you to no end. Come contractions time, there is no way but through no matter how you deliver your child.
Dads get a taste during pregnancy of what surrendering control looks like, but honestly we have no idea. The universe throws these little hints at us to tell us “Hey, here you go, this is what your life is going to be like. Strap in and get ready for the ride!” Initially we think we can control it, we think that somehow with the right amount of research and logic, we can nail it. Well, this business of parenting is not a business, it is not a thing you can control and not something you fix. It fixes you. And, if you are honest with yourself and have truly accepted the challenge, you are grateful for this kick in the ass.
Parenting is, in a nutshell, the greatest test of our ability to surrender to the present moment. Like any hero’s journey, if you pass the test, you will be rewarded with riches beyond your wildest imaginations. You will feel full like you’ve never felt full in your life. There will be days when you get no sleep, but feel energized. You may forget to eat and feel satiated. You will forget to bathe and feel as if you have taken a hot cleansing shower. This list goes on. Your world will be turned right side up and you might wonder, “How did I not see it this way before?” The answer is, you couldn’t have.
Don’t get me wrong, it is not all ice cream and butterflies. And there are those days you will think that you can’t do it That it is too hard and the days are just not long enough.. In those moments you will have to remember what Abdu’l-Baha and I am oft reminded by my friend Justin Baldoni “Where there is love, nothing is too much trouble and there is always time”