Friday, January 29, 2010

Sympathy for The Parent?

(T has pity for the fools!)

I guess I don't really blame them, since I have been there before, and occupied that mindset myself at a time in my life prior to becoming a parent.

I had to work from home the other day since Lukas wasn't feeling well. While there I called a colleague in another office, a man with no children of his own, to try to work out an issue. Lukas chose that moment to throw a mild fit. I'm not sure about what, he just wasn't feeling well that afternoon. At a subsequent meeting with another person in this same office it came up that this guy had a good laugh about this, and that he felt SORRY for me.

A different scenario played itself out at our home last week when a notary came by at 8:00 PM to have us sign papers for a refinance we were completing. Normally, our son would be in bed at this time, but we needed to get the signing done and this was our only time. Lukas was happy, but noticeably 'wired' and running roughshod through the house while we signed paper after paper. Attempts were made to calm him, but having extra playtime at 8:00 was not an opportunity he was going to squander!

Though she was nice enough, I could see it in her eyes. This motherless woman was feeling for us, and couldn't wait to wrap things up and get out of there.

Even dating back to when our little guy first began to walk there have instances where we could feel pity oozing from childless acquaintances as they watched us 'deal' with our enthusiastic progeny. There was one instance in particular where a couple we hung out with a lot invited us to lunch in a fancy restaurant. We brought Lukas, who couldn't sit still for more than a few minutes. When we didn't let him down to walk, he protested. Some food might have been thrown. This couple looked stunned as they watched this unfold. We just sighed and chuckled.

We haven't been out with these friends since.

Yes, parenting a small child can be difficult at times. It can be frustrating. It can be loud. It will be messy. Very messy at times, but you know what? These people can respectfully save their pity for someone else. There are a whole lot of people out there who really do need it. The instances I described? They were mere moments in the whole process of parenting. Bumps in the road. Not at all representative of the parenting experience we, or I suspect many of you, have come to know.

My point is this. When 'I' consider all my individual moments as a father as one experience I am simply thrilled with how it has turned out. It is so much better than I had ever anticipated. My son is an amazing little man. Not a day goes by where I am not extremely proud to be his Daddy. This is not a perspective, I suspect which many non-parents can understand and grasp. But I hope that someday they will get to. It will truely eye opening.

Until then, I pity them for not knowing this kind of Love.

Photo: Wikipedia


Ron said...

Aaaaa-men! This might be one of the most annoying situations I've experienced as a parent, that and people pushing your kid out to the way so they can get something off a store shelf.

Your right. It sad that they don't understand this kind of love. Sadder still if they never do.

Great post.

Lady Mama said...

Agreed! I've had those pitying looks from childless friends and I think, whatever, don't feel bad for me - I'm the lucky one. A few moments of chaos don't match the joy I feel as a parent. And sometimes I'll be on the phone to someone and they'll say "oh it sounds like you need to go" (because the kids are screaming or something) and I'll say "um, no - this is normal!".

SciFi Dad said...

Great post, and very true.

Childless people really don't "get it" until they have one of their own.

Mrs. M said...

Ah, well said.

I was one of "those" people.

Until I had kids.

Now I totally get it and just wait for others who are getting ready or just having kids to "get it" too.

Not From Lapland said...

I used to be one of those people. I looked at kids having tantrums in supermarkets or restaurants and I swore I was NEVER having children. It just looked so hard, so stressful. No way I was going to go through any of that, thank you very much. I felt so sorry for the poor suckers who had fallen for the whole parenting thing

With the shoe firmly on the other foot now you realise that those things you looked at before as being what parenting was about are just a couple of minutes in an otherwise great day. Just bumps on the road, as you put it, not the road itself.

The Power of One said...

I was SO that person with the MY-child-will-NEVER attitude. Well, guess what?! My child is SO that kid X10. Ever heard of a preacher's kid? Well, I am an educator and I have a "teacher's" kid" (just like a preacher's kid but with fewer people watching his every move.)

Takiema said...

mainstream US culture is a very strange thing. In most other cultures there isn't this separation of children and parents from childless folk. It's so odd to me how many people have no understanding of children because they aren't around them until they become parents. Ah well, it's not my personal experience and I do wish that people in general lived more holistically because in the end it would help everyone be far less judgemental IMO

Martin said...

I'm trying to replay situations in my mind, and I honestly don't think it was pity.

I'd like to give people more credit than that.

Good post.

Anonymous said...

Very well said man

James (SeattleDad) said...

@CK Thanks Ron, I think I would lose it if someone pushed my kid out of the way.

@Lady Mama - Ha. Yes, this is the new normal.

@Scifi dad - So true. I was there at an earlier time.

@Teri - It was a surprise to me, but a good one.

@Heather - Now we are the poor suckers, and happy to be.

@Power - Yes, you always think that you would do things so much better until you actually have to deal with 'situations'. Funny.

@Takiema - Wow, great point. True that in previous generations there were far fewer people who weren't exposed to kids for long stretches of time.

@Xbox - Yeah, most of the time it probably doesn't reach pity, but still don't feel sorry for me folks because I am fine.

@Hands - Thanks man.

Irrational Dad said...

I constantly tell my friends, "You'll see" after trying to explain just how awesome being a father is. I get frustrated, I raise my voice, I even cry sometimes, but when Tyler gives me a squeezy hug and says "luh-loo", the entire world is at peace. I'm with you. I pity the person that doesn't have the love of a child.

Anonymous said...

By far one of your best posts man. I pity the people who never experience the love, the mess, the joy, the frustration, the pleasure of bringing someone up in the world. Wouldn't trader her for anything.

Slamdunk said...

Wonderful post topic James. I think I have been on both sides of your story--being a dad and having a full understanding of the committment has been an amazing yet eye-opening experience.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely, there are the less than desirable moments, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. We should pity them.