Photo courtesy of 3Haus Photographics
Over a month ago I was in a conversation with a lady about parenting. She told me how she had read in a book how essential it is for infants to be looked after with deliberate focus for the first 9 months. “Deliberate focus” means to be responsive at all times to the needs of a child. She mentioned that studies reveal that babies who are cared for in this way tend to have healthy confidence, self-esteem and self-worth. Her emphasis to me was to nurture my sons without any guilt of potentially “spoiling” them.
Somehow, in an indirect way, her words set me on a path I hadn’t quite expected. Let me explain. After The Roommates were born, I had the opportunity for free tickets to Edmonton’s Folk Fest. If you know me, you know how much I love everything surrounding this 4-week party. Due to my new responsibility as a parent I had to painfully decline the tickets. As the days progressed I began to feel a bit sad of the other things I had to decline: running in the River Valley, playing soccer, hanging out with friends, 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
There was a gradual sense of “missing out” that seemed to intensify with every Tweet and Facebook update of some event that I was missing out on. Pictures of people enjoying the weather, posts about how amazing the mountains were and delectable pictures of food purchased from trucks all made it seem like we chose the wrong time to have children.
That’s when this lady’s words seemed to unlock something within me. My most important priority for the next several months are the well being of Zavi and Marzuki. This meant an overhaul in not only my attitude but also my perspective. Kels already understood this.
The thought then dawned on me, “What things in my life have died because of neglect?”
In other words, what ideas, ventures, projects, disciplines did I initially conceive only to see them wither simply because I did not give them the attention and care required at the very beginning for them to flourish and grow?
Currently, my renewed commitment for our boys has made it easier to say “no” to a lot of things. It’s not that we don’t want to hang with friends or drive to the mountains for a weekend. We would love to. (Trust me, we talked about it only to find ourselves exhausted at the idea of packing!) We recognize our limitations and are ready to admit that we are not the “super parents” we thought we’d be. Instead, Kels and I have simplified our existence to this: 1. Love each other. 2. Love our sons. This is our current matrix by which we attempt to base our decisions. We know that it adds a level of tension in balancing everything else in life like friendships, work, volunteering, extended family, aspirations, etc. But we also know that this is only for a season and that we are to treasure these moments. It won’t always be the case when our sons will fall asleep in our arms. For now, this is where we are in life and there is no place I’d rather be than with our crazy little roommates and my beautiful wife stuck in a room.