For the Love of the Children

I remember when I was pregnant with my first child. I was over the moon excited to be having a baby. I wanted to be a mom for a very long time, and it was finally happening! I thought it would all be so easy. My baby would love me at first sight, and never do anything wrong. She would be the most well behaved, intelligent, creative, and talented child that ever lived. Parenting would be full of pretend tea parties, reading books snuggled up on the couch, swinging on the swings, laughter, and fun. Looking back, I was so naive.  Yes, some of those things happened, but not in the way I imagined.

Surprise surprise, my children are normal children with strengths and weaknesses. I know they aren't the "best" kids ever, but they are the best for me. I love them unconditionally, and I have a pretty good feeling they love me in that same way. We did have the pretend tea parties, took many trips to the park to swing on the swings, and read countless books together. We also had long nights of crying, sickness, colic, teething, temper tantrums, cranky children, and cranky parents.

Parenting is not all sunshine and lollipops. There are difficult, and very painful times. There are times you just want to run away from all of the responsibility. No matter what, you always want to come back to those faces that you love more than anything. I've been a parent for 16 years, and I still light up inside when I see my children's big smiles. Nothing else is more important than their long term happiness - nothing. The joy you feel from seeing them grow and progress trumps all of the work and heartache.

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