In Celebration of Our Children
I gave birth to my son the day before finals. He was two weeks early, which neither my doctor nor I expected. The only person who thought he would be early was one of my students, a mother of three. Two days before I gave birth, she came up to me and told me she didn’t think I would make it through the weekend. She had been watching the location of my pregnant belly shift throughout the week, and she could just tell.
I am glad my student was correct because it means I get to spend two extra weeks of my life with my son. That child has brought me so much joy. He has been one of the lights of my life. My story has some unique elements, but I have heard other parents tell similar stories of celebration and joy around these fantastical beings we are lucky enough to share our lives with. Of course, the joy has had some patchy spots. After all, my son is human, as am I. Like all humans, we both have our moments.
Right now, it feels like the world at large is having its own moment. Every day it seems as if there is something else to worry about. For the most part, these are big issues that we have no control over. This makes parenting really tough. Doesn’t it? The inability to control the situation to make it safe, secure, and healthy for our children can feel scary. One of the things about parenting is that you like to feel that you have control of all the variables, all the time. With that control, you can help assure that your children will be safe and happy, get to live their dreams, and have the life they want.
In reality, that control is illusory, and it always has been. It is just more obvious at this time. As Alice Morse Earle said in the 1890’s, “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.” This inability to control the present is even supported by the science principle of entropy, which states that all things tend toward disorder. Case in point, virus-driven entropy, also called evolutionary entropy, is a well-known phenomenon that is an important driver of evolution and predicts that pandemics will occur.
Let’s be honest though, sometimes it is easier said than done to live your life as if your days are not limitless, but that is exactly how I am starting this year. I have a New Year’s Resolution for 2021 that does not require me to lose an ounce or to run a marathon, or even around the block. I am not going to attempt to give up sweets, either. I think I can keep this one for the entire year, too!
This Year Let’s Live in Celebration of Our Children
In 2021, I am going to live in celebration of my child, my stepchildren, and my grand-children. That doesn’t mean I won’t worry about some of the things I can’t control. I am sure to do that as well. But one of the things that has happened as a result of this crisis is that I am seeing a lot more of my family, and we are all closer because of it. It has brought me back to the joy of meeting my son for the very first time. I have spent time doing science experiments and training our new puppy with my grandchildren. I have invented a recipe named after each of them, something pre-Covid I had only done for the two oldest. I have gotten to see all sorts of firsts for my new grandson and really gotten to know my new daughter-in-law and her daughter. I have spent significant time with my son and my adult stepchildren, and I like and admire the adults they have grown to be.
2020 proved that the world tends toward entropy. It created anxiety for everyone as we came to realize how little control we have over parts of our lives. Who knows, 2021 might be a crazy year, too. It is possible that the most effective thing we can do to control the situation is to work to stop worrying about things we have no control over. It’s time to focus instead on the relationships with the people who bring us so much joy, to celebrate these beautiful beings we share such a short geological time with!
Much Love to All of You! Happy New Year!