Author’s note: This piece was one that I wrote specifically for the purpose of entering a writing competition. I did not win that competition but I wanted to share the piece with you anyway. I hope you enjoy it. – PSM
I became a parent for the first time back in 19…well, it was some time back anyway. Like most expectant fathers, I bought a bunch of books that I thought would prepare me for this forthcoming event. I mean, I easily spent close to $100 in books. Those books might as well have been released as a set of several volumes entitled: Some Books That Make You Think You Know What’s Coming and Make You Feel Good About Yourself. Someone should have just typed the following on a sheet of paper for 25 cents each: “YOU DON’T HAVE THE SLIGHTEST CLUE WHAT IS COMING TO YOU! SAVE YOUR BOOK MONEY! YOUR CHILD WILL NEED IT MORE!” Then again, it is quite possible that such a truth was written and prepared for circulation. I suspect that a gang of leather-clad-book-writing child psychologists lead by Eyemokay Yerokay, Ph.D. found the author and beat the truth telling tar out of him.
Once my child arrived, my confidence and courage was quickly replaced by changing and crying. Occasionally, my child required more change and cried louder than I did. This little soul turned my world upside down, drained my wallet, sucked away my sleep cycle, and had me second guessing myself day after day. I endured all of these trials and ultimately reacted in the same way that 95% of parents in my situation have reacted throughout history —I had more children.
During the span of just over 5 years, I was blessed with 4 children: 2 boys and 2 girls. I decided at this point that my Biblical quiver was full. Besides, a tied score of boys and girls is hard to beat. In the years that followed, I made multiple trips to the emergency room, stopped many sibling wrestling matches, endured enough contractions of chicken pox to make me and my wife start clucking uncontrollably, and retrieved one child from the roof of our house. On the other hand, I have also attended many choir concerts, received many exhibits of child created art, and watched my kids have the time of their lives playing on a dining room table that I coated with shaving cream.
All these years later, I can tell you my worst error — I blinked. By this coming autumn, one daughter will be married. Another daughter will deliver our first grandchild. Between the two daughters alone, I know I have many grandparental adventures ahead of me. I also know this: “I DON’T HAVE THE SLIGHTEST CLUE WHAT IS COMING TO YOU! I’M SAVING MY BOOK MONEY! MY GRANDCHILDREN WILL NEED IT MORE!”