23. What was the meaning behind 23? In that dream I had when I was 16, I died at 23. It stuck with me. I really believed that was it, it was my expiration date. I was going to die in a horrible car crash. But here I am at 30 knowing. Living, breathing, talking and obviously typing.
What did it mean? Why did I have it? Why am I still here? Does it have to do with Joe? Joe did die at 23, but that’s not the reason.
Let me tell you.
I got pregnant at 23. My 23rd year of life would be the last year that I lived for myself. One hour and eleven minutes into my 24th year I brought Ryker into this world. I gave birth to the best part of me on my 24th birthday. My life would never be the same after that.
He came into this world a whole 7 lbs. on the nose. How can 7 lbs. change ones life so drastically? The love that you have for your child is something that you can’t explain to someone that hasn’t had one. You would give anything for that tiny being. You would give your heart for them if that meant you would die and they would live happily. You pour everything into this child. You feed them something your body made just for them. You give up sleep. You often forget to feed yourself. You give up your diginity. You put yourself through so much pain. The pain of birth, the pain you feel the first time they bleed, the pain and frustration that comes with the terrible two’s and terrendous three’s. But within all the struggle you still love this being infinitely. You give up the clothes off your back to buy for them. You will do anything for them.
Parenthood isn’t all rainbows and lollipops. We are very similar. Which in turn means we argue a lot. We are both very stubborn. He has learnt the art of sarcasm. He’s a picky eater, like his father, which often ends up with him eating some type of boring Italian food. He’s got an attitude of a 75 year old man. Very wise and stuck in his way. Sometimes I count down to bedtime because the whining wears me down.
Being a parent, you often feel like your failing. If you get an epidural or c-section, you feel like you failed. When your breastmilk is taking too long to come in, your failing at feeding your child. When they are taking too long to gain weight, your failing. When they gain to much weight, your failing, When they aren’t rolling over on time or sitting up, your failing. When they aren’t walking by a year, your failing. If they aren’t saying enough words or sentences, your failing. If they curse, don’t use their manners, can’t count to ten, don’t know their body parts, can’t read, can’t ride a bike without training wheels, can’t tie their shoes or do up their zippers, blah-di-blah-blah-blah…your failing. It’s never ending.
So lets all be happy failures together! If you feed your child, provide a roof over their head, give them clothes, but most importantly provide them with love, your doing something right. It doesn’t matter if sometimes we feed them a ‘happy meal’ and they have underwear on their head, wearing a cape and a sock on their junk (let’s just hope your at home when they decide to do so). Life isn’t perfect. Our children aren’t going to perfect. I don’t know a single person that is perfect.
As parents, we should focus less on what we are doing wrong and just have fun. Swing on the swings, climb the monkey bars, go fishing, go camping, fall down, encourage our children to go out of their comfort zone by going out of ours. Look silly. Splash in puddles. Get messy. Do cartwheels. Maybe not jump on trampolines moms, you might pee your pants. Let our kids take risks, and get up from them. Teach them how to open doors for their elders, put their dishes in the sink, push in their chairs, be respectful, stand up for themselves, and let them be individuals! Let them be sad, let them get angry, give consequences so they understand that all actions have a reaction.
On my 24th birthday I became a different person. I learned how to love without reason. I learnt how healing a hug can be. I learnt that patience really is a virtue, especially when your child spends 15 minutes pooping and requires you to stand there talking to him. I learnt how good sleep really does feel. And how 5 minutes of a child crying in pain can feel like days. I learnt how helpless you can truly feel, when there’s nothing you can do to make that little being feel better. I learnt how your world can really change in the beat of a heart. The end of my 23rd year was really the beginning of my life.