I’m a parent! Egad!

The husband, girls and I traveled south to visit my folks and grandparents earlier this month.

On Friday morning, Dad and I got up at Crazy O’clock in the morning (6:30) and went to a nearby town and a few neighborhoods looking for garage sales. Dad does not browse; he hunts. He looks for books, and the pickings were slim, so we covered a lot of ground by lunchtime.

At one sale, I heard the happy sounds of a baby, so I turned around and saw a little boy being held on what I figured was his mother’s lap. He was chewing happily away on a pair of sunglasses. I smiled and waved. “How old is he?” I asked.

“Fourteen months,” the woman replied.

I nodded. “My youngest is just about 16 months,” I said. “What’s his name?”

“Jack.”

I waved goodbye to Jack as we left, as Dad had taken all of ten seconds to exhaust the garage sale’s potential. As I walked back down the driveway to the waiting van, I marveled silently at what I’d just said. My youngest is 16 months old. My youngest. I have a child. I have two of them.

Egad! How did this happen? (Aside from the obvious way it happened, that is.)

I feel like I missed a test, or that I rushed somewhat into parenthood. Was this a good idea? What made me think that I’d be a good parent? I live with a quiet, not-always-there fear that I’m going to screw both of my wonderful little girls up. I have dealt with depression and an anxiety disorder, and I don’t want either of them to suffer the same way, or in any way. Yes, I realize that you can’t shelter your children from everything, and that hurting is part of this life, but I can’t help feeling that way. I don’t want my girls to cry.

So I do instead. I watch them play with blocks, and toys, and watch shows like Blue’s Clues, The Muppet Show, and Reading Rainbow, and I get nostalgic for my own childhood and dread the days ahead when they set all that aside. I also compare what they watch to what I watch — science fiction and/or horror, mostly — and I don’t want them to grow up thinking that’s entertainment as I have. I’d rather they both develop an affection for comedies and life-affirming stuff, rather than the latest CGI monster tearing some random non-main character’s head off.

So I worry. And I play with them, and talk with them (talking to Jordan, at this stage, mostly consists of silly noises and giggling), and pray that Chris and I are doing right by them.

So far, so good (as far as I can tell).

Here’s a picture of Jordan, looking at Gus the dog, from the trip to my mom and dad’s house, taken by a proud Grandma:

I love you both, Azrael and Jordan. I love both of you girls very, very much.

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