Posted: Monday, August 11th, 2008
I think most of us, when we put the “For Rent” sign out in front of our womb and decide to have a baby, understand that there are going to be some pretty significant sacrifices involved in the raising of little people. We know there will be a toll on our bodies, sleepless nights, some degree of change to our career path, and of course, finding a way to pay for college. But I have yet to meet anyone who claims to have been prepared for all the tiny sacrifices they end up making in the name of being a good parent.
I think my brother holds the gold medal in the tiny sacrifice competition for the time he drank the juice out of his toddler’s jar of “meat sticks” so she could eat them during take off on an airplane trip. (I know…unfathomable right?) But I bet all of us can come up with a bunch of examples – just from the last few days – where we did something maybe not quite heroic, but at least selfless, to put our child’s comfort, safety, or happiness in front of our own. Here’s my list:
- I attended a county fair.
- I gave my jacket to Speed and my long sleeve tee shirt to Whiz so that they’d be warm enough during an outside dinner while I shivered in a tank top.
- I ate a sandwich made out of bread heels.
- I gave up listening to NPR because they’re getting old enough to be scared by the scary stuff.
- I celebrated my birthday at a safari park.
- I ate dinner at Chuck E. Cheese.
I don’t remember any of those possibilities being discussed in any of the many baby books I read when I was pregnant. I can’t find any articles about them on my company’s website - which is the best source of parenting info I have. It’s not even something that I talk about often (ever?) with other parents. But there they are, every day, tiny sacrifices.
I had kind of a revelation about the tiny sacrifices this weekend. I was sitting in the sweltering heat at the County Fair listening to the boys squeal with delight on their eleventh ride on the Ferris wheel. I was smashed body to body with the general public. I was sticky, hot, exhausted and…deliriously happy. “This is the real miracle of birth” I thought. The fact that we can bring two half cells together in our bodies and churn out a live baby in nine months is only the beginning. What’s even more amazing to me is that the second we get them, kids teach us how to love in a whole new way. Their arrival instantly ends our reign as the center of our universe and they begin to show us how to wrap our lives around a new center. And the way we show them that we’re learning what they’re teaching? The tiny sacrifices. The things we do for love.
That’s pretty cool actually.
But I still miss NPR.
What’s the funniest, grossest, hardest or most surprising tiny sacrifice you’ve made as a parent? Post a comment here. Our favorite (posted by midnight on August 18th) will get to choose a treat from our Editorial staff’s ”treasure chest”. (We have an office full of really cool toys, books, and gadgets). No need to post your email address in the body of your comment.