By now, I’m a reluctant veteran of waiting rooms and hospitals on my daughters’ behalves. There have been four sets of ear tubes, two endoscopies, one set of collarbone fracture X-rays, and one harrowing four-day hospital stay that I don’t even want to think about.
As I sat there waiting for the doctor to take me back to the recovery room to be with my daughter, I reflected on parenthood and the unexpected emotions and realities it brings.
When I was without children, time seemed to pass more slowly… I had fewer physical and temporal reminders of time’s passage. Yes, there were holidays, but there were no quarterly report cards or picture days, there were no outgrown shoes and clothing to replace or regularly-scheduled dental appointments, band concerts or intramural practices to attend. Time did not swirl with the same crazy intensity.
When I was without children, I was invincible, or at least could pretend to be so. My daughters are my Achilles heel…their physical or emotional suffering pains me far more deeply than my own.
I am also at my strongest. I swallow fears and tears to give my children strength. I become part lioness, part super hero, to keep their world safe and happy.
As a parent, I push to become my best self…trying to love, protect, encourage and inspire them…trying to be someone they want to look up to and emulate.
Such is the role of parents since the dawn of time. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.