“Parents aren’t perfect people. They are people being perfected.”
In the deep stillness of the night, a newborn’s cry pierces the silence. A young mother, her body aching from the trial of giving birth, eases herself into a rocking chair with her precious new babe cradled in her arms. The gentle creak of untried wood settling into a life of service accompanies a soft-voiced lullaby as the baby’s cries drift back to silence with a tiny sigh. Despite her exhaustion, the new mother smiles tenderly as she tends her baby’s needs. And there, in that wooden rocking chair in the still of the night, a mommy is born.
There is great truth to the idea that it takes more than bringing a child into the world to be a parent. It is in the moments of sacrifice, the placing of another’s needs before our own, the daily learning and evolving, the growth that only comes through time and experience and, yes, even failure, that a person becomes a parent.
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The truth, paradoxical as it may seem, is that we become more of who we are by becoming less of who we were. It is in the letting go of self, that conception of identity that can so tie us down, that the depth and breadth of the human heart reaches its true potential.
In other words, and more specifically as a parent, embracing the new realities of our life with a precious new little life to care for and guide and protect and love doesn’t make us lose ourselves. It gives us the chance to find more of ourselves, to delve more deeply into the richness of our potential, and to become more than we ever imagined possible.
Mommy or daddy, birth parent or adoptive parent, it doesn’t matter who we are, what matters is who we are becoming. It’s okay to let go of old conceptions of self; it’s okay to dive headfirst into this new season of life; it’s okay to let go of me to become we.