There are so many “parenting styles” out there, it is almost as if you are supposed to fit into one category and follow it exactly. When it came to parenting Clara, we just did what felt right and that is what we continue to do. Though there are some things I am overly conscious about for very personal reasons.
I lost my father to cancer in April 2011. As we knew that time was limited, we had many conversations, some conversations I would not have taken the chance to talk about under different circumstances. One of the things we spoke about was the way he parented and what advice he would have for me and my children. It was not an easy conversation, because it was pretty clear that he wouldn't be here to help me, though as one of our last I remember it practically verbatim.
We were at our usual spot, Ted's Fish Fry; I asked him if he could do anything differently, and what that would have been. He said he wish he had waited a bit before he had children, not getting married so young and starting a family. The balance of a new marriage and children was a stressful one. He told me that as he had gotten older, he had developed patience, the kind he wished he had when my brother and I were younger. Though Ron and I are coming up on nine years of marriage, we were married seven years before we had Clara, a lot happened in those seven years which strengthened our marriage. I know I would have parented different at 22 than at 29. I am conscious not to yell at Clara and I try to be conscious of her abilities and my requests, yelling has never gotten me anywhere, anyhow, though I know I have my father to honor in that way.
It was another visit, my very last at his house, when he asked me if I was truly happy. We were cuddled up on the couch, I told him that I was absolutely happy, though we had married quick, my husband has been a dream maker, my biggest supporter and my protector, the only thing missing from the life that Ron and I were building was a child. By that time we had been trying for more than two years and were looking into fertility. My dad knew our struggle and we spoke about it a bit more.
One last time, my father was passing, I whispered in his ear, "When you get to heaven and meet your grandchildren, please tell them how cool their mother is, but, please do not keep them for too long, you know how bad we want them." I know he heard me. In May of 2011, we learned that March 2012 our lives were about to begin again.
I could not call him to tell him we were expecting, nor could I share any part physically with him, though I am thankful for the gift of our sweet time and opportunity to speak freely about our lives, what was to come, and what he may not be here for. Though as time goes on, I see my father in Clara, I know he is having his hand in raising her. His words ring in my heart. I know he heard me that day and like any father, wanted to make sure he did anything within his power to make sure his little girl was happy and had everything she ever wanted. Now with “Blue” on the way, our lives will be complete.