One of many “pearls of wisdom” that you hear as a soon-to-be parent is that it changes you. And like most of the other parenthood cliches, I thought I knew what this one meant.
On one level, I knew it would change me: I wouldn’t have the freedom I once had. I was ready to give that up. I knew that I would be more stressed. And the my worries would change focus. I figured I would be more stressed and yet have to do a better job of hiding it. I knew that I would have to become way more patient and way more flexible. I knew that I would feel a kind of love I had never known (though they level of its intensity I could not imagine). I knew I would be responsible for another human and so need to become a different kind of responsible.
But I didn’t know that it changes you to the core. That you can no longer see the world through the same eyes you once had. I didn’t realize that every child in every movie, story, TV show, hell…commercial even…becomes my child. To the point where I found myself crying during Last Man Standing (of all things) the other night when Eve didn’t get into West Point, because suddenly her disappointment is Levi’s disappointment. I cry during Biggest Loser now when parent/child team members shed tears for the other, because suddenly I “get it” (a little bit. I still think they get paid extra for every tear shed…).
Again and again in this parenting thing, I find myself returning to the cliché as truth.