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“I THOUGHT YOU TOLD ME PARENTING WOULD BE SO WONDERFUL, “I cried into the phone to my mother. We had picked up our newborn adopted son the afternoon before and he had cried all night. I was at my wits end. “Well”, she answered quietly, “it’s not always wonderful”.

So began my 26 year journey into parenthood.

Yes, there have been many trying moments, no doubt about it. But, the fact is being a parent has been the most enlarging experience of my life. Each of our four sons, ages 15 to 26, is entirely unique and each one has a distinctive way of responding to the world. I have been privileged to learn about their strengths and preferences. I have had a front row seat throughout their growing up years.

Yet, even more profoundly, I have learned so much about myself. Being a parent has made me dig deep inside myself to discover strengths I did not know I had. Could I be patient at the end of every day when I was utterly exhausted? Was I strong enough to kindly and consistently uphold firm limits (for the hundred daily tests of will) when it would be so much easier to give in? Would I be able assert my child’s rights in the public domain? Why did I tend to lose my temper when certain subjects came up? What is important in life and what isn’t so important after all? Thus, through the process of parenting, I have become more self aware, more compassionate, more humble, and, ultimately more whole.

So yes, my dearest Mother (now deceased for over a decade), you were right after all. Even if it can be very challenging at times, being a parent is absolutely wonderful. It is transformative. Nothing else can compare.

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Copyright © 2009 Deborah E. Katz    |    JParent, LLC.    |    ACPI Certified Coach ® for Parents and Families