It was 1981. He rocked an afro, à la The Jackson 5. She had cut her long hair for the first time (real hardcore too – all the way from bum-length to a short pixie cut). They were young, they were starry-eyed, they were beautiful, and they had just gotten married.
And just one short year later, they would be parents. To me. ?
The other day I found myself thinking, man this parenting thing is no joke. And truly, it isn’t. Parenting is hard work. Here you are, this person who’s far from perfect, and you’re entrusted with raising a real life human being! Whaaat?
Plus, you’re still pretty young yourself. Except, you’re not. Well, not in comparison to when your parents had you that is. I mean, when my mom was my age, she had a sixteen year old kid. SIXTEEN!! I mean, I can’t even imagine myself with a teenager at my age… and my mom had both a teen and a tween. And she did it all, with grace. HOW?
Granted, not all our parents had us at nineteen and twenty three (that’s how old my mom and dad were when I was born), and not everyone today waits until their late twenties, or thirties to have a child. On average though, the age that women have their first child has gone up, meaning that in years gone by, many (our moms, aunts, grandmothers) did have their kids a lot younger than we do now. And how they did it all, boggles my mind.
I mean, at almost twenty seven, I remember wondering if I was mature enough to be a good mom to the tiny bean in my belly. I devoured baby books and magazines, I joined a mommy-to-be online forum, I hoped my childish silliness wouldn’t hinder me from getting everything right in the parenting department. I wondered, “what if I’m too young for this parent thing?”
Too young? Dude, your mom had an eight year old when she was your age! That’s when it hit me – maybe it’s the overload of information so readily available to us, which leads to us (well, me at least) overthinking everything? Or maybe there’s just so much more mayhem in the world today, it scares us, and we overthink and over stress about everything? I don’t know. What I do know though, is that parenting, as I mentioned earlier, isn’t for the weak.
When I think, for example, of how confused I become when Zee has an over-sensitive day and becomes a little difficult to deal with, I have to stop and wonder… how flustered was my mom at nineteen, with a baby… and how overwhelmed was she at thirty five, with a sixteen year old? Because you know, teenagers know everything after all *cue eye-roll*, and are sooo mature and cool *cough*. It never showed though. Grace and dignity. Smiles and love. That’s all I remember. That’s all she let us see. Both of them handled parenthood like pros, with love and guidance for us in abundance.
I don’t know how they did it, how any of the super young moms and dads did it. But I’m grateful. Grateful for the stellar job done of raising us, even at such a young age. And grateful that it’s not me having to do the same. I was too childish at nineteen (or even twenty three) to have done what they did, and pull it off that well!
For me personally*, I feel like I had Zee at just the right time – still young and goofy enough, that I make my kid laugh daily, but old enough to deal with (or at least, attempt to) whatever parenting in this crazy world throws at me.
*These are just my personal thoughts and opionions, ie. what works for our little family.