This month marks 29 years since I became a father. I have to admit, though, that before I became a father, I had no interest in being a parent. None. Zero. Zilch. However, once my son was born, my feelings took a complete one-eighty. With inspiration from my wonderful wife, I immersed myself into parenthood. Our life had changed. We knew things would be different. We were now responsible for another life, for teaching our son right from wrong. We would be giving love and comfort and guidance and knowledge to a human being that we consciously decided to bring into this world. We were now a family. We would do things as a family. And we would love being a family.
Every part of my son's life was the best part. I loved watching him grow up. I loved watching him learn new things. I loved seeing him beam with pride at all of his accomplishments through the years — an "A" on a test or a gold star on a school project. I loved going on family vacations. My son and I saw Niagara Falls for the first time together. My wife and I, veterans of many trips to Walt Disney World, experienced the theme park from a new perspective during our son's first visit. We cheered him on when he boarded the bus for his first summer at overnight camp — and we fought back tears knowing how much we would miss him during his eight-week absence. We wrote to him — sending four and five letters a day. (The mail room at camp hated us.) We rejoiced in his graduation from high school, then college and were overjoyed when he landed his dream job. He recently bought a house with his girlfriend.
Mrs. P and I like to think that we laid the foundation for our son's life. We hope that our conduct and decisions have influenced him by example. I suppose it has, because he has made us proud many, many times over.
So, I am infuriated by the overwhelming number of parents that I have witnessed bitching and whining and complaining about their children. I cringe when I hear "I can't wait! No children for the whole weekend!" or "It's adult night! Children-free! Woo-hoo!" I hate to see Facebook posts that say "Dropped the kids off! Now it's ME time!" On a public forum? Really? I don't understand this sentiment at all? Why on earth did you have children if you can't wait to get rid of them? Didn't you fully understand the commitment involved when you decided to have children? It's not an obligation because your parents wouldn't shut up about "making them grandparents." Having children is a big responsibility. It is a life-changing responsibility. And if you are not ready to alter your life, then you should have put more thought into what is actually involved in having a family. Your children are your responsibility. Not your parents', not your babysitter's, not your kid's teacher's.... yours. Grow the fuck up and start acting like a responsible adult and parent. And stop being selfish.
Spend time with your children, as much as you can. Be patient with your children. Be loving with your children. Be involved in their lives and in their interests... even if they are not your interests. Give them direction and encouragement and discipline and praise and assistance. If you don't like the way your kids behave, guess whose fault that is?
Didn't you learn anything from "Cats in the Cradle?"