NOTE: The following excerpt is from a short series of blog articles I wrote on parenting and early childhood education in 2013.
Parenting is stressful, challenging, often thankless work. It's so easy complain about every little thing that drives me nuts as a father. Even worse, it's easy to grow complacent about the things that actually make my job easier. So I want to take a moment to remind myself: somewhere out there, another parent is yearning for what I consider to be mundane.
My son is handsome, intelligent, and perfectly healthy. Every day, he plays and he grows, he asks questions and he learns. I'm lucky. So many parents have to deal with health and care issues I cannot comprehend. I don't have to cope with severe allergies, physical handicaps, or mental illness, and I admire the strength and diligence of parents who do.
When I first became a father, I was obese. In spite of my weight, I was always in good health. I got myself in shape about two years ago, and I work to stay fit. But what I too often take for granted is how my health affects my relationship with my son. When we go to the park, I run, climb, and play right alongside him. It seems so ordinary, until I look up and see other parents sitting idly on benches, watching their children have fun without them. My health brings me closer to my son.
My son has two parents who love him dearly, and a close-knit extended family that includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and cherished friends. I was born after my grandfathers were deceased; my son has quality time with both of his grandfathers. I'm blessed that I can witness him enjoying an experience I never had. More importantly, though, our family fabric is strong. Single parents struggle every day to raise their children with no one to turn to for help or support.
So, to the parent out there who envies what I have, thank you for the reminder. I will take stock of these little blessings more often. To all the parents who are fortunate enough to enjoy the same blessings, I invite you to take a moment and appreciate – and even celebrate – the mundane.
TJ Barranger is a branding and publicity consultant in the Baltimore, Maryland area with a background in business communications and online content management. He specializes in assisting small business and non-profit clients. Agree/disagree with this article? Share your comments via e-mail: TJ@TJBCreative.com.