Over at grownandflown,a question has been posed: What are the unexpected pleasures of raising children? Answers from 15 women are featured--from moms of newborns to parents of fully grown adults. Some of the answers are funny, some deep and all from the heart. I enjoyed the list not just for its content but because it got me thinking about what I've found to be the most surprising gift of raising children.
Like one of the parents on the site, a major joy has been in how amusing my kids are--how they make me laugh. And, as another mom put it, it's been delightful to see the world anew through their eyes.
But the most surprising pleasure has been in the access they've given me to worlds and universes I knew nothing about. In the early years, there was the entry into the dynamics of gymnastic's competitions (parent alert: the judging at meets is the pits when it's your child up there on the balance beam) and the pressures of soccer tournaments (parent alert: it's harder to be the mother of the sweeper who's defending against a goal than of the forward charged with scoring).
Now that our kids are adults, we've been pulled (intellectually only; no more managing from the sidelines) into even more dynamic and fascinating universes--brainwashing, educating disadvantaged children, use and misuse of databases. Our adult children recommend books and link us up to articles about subjects we would never have chosen on our own.
It's fascinating and exciting stuff for us--Paterfamilias is a regulatory lawyer; I'm a financial columnist. Who knew about mind control or classroom management? We may have shepherded our children through their growing-up years, but now they're leading us to new terrains for our minds. It's a pleasure. A great one.