My life most definitely changed when I had my daughter. And I will say while there are challenges, it changed my life for the better. She is rambunctious, playful, smart, and beautiful. She has probably taught me more about life in the three years she has been around than what I have learned in my entire life. Thus, my daughter has certainly taught me some lessons about life that I will have forever.
1.I’m stronger than I realized. First of all, I have struggled finding a stable job in the academic world. Part of it is probably that it is over saturated, and therefore, very competitive. Another issue is that I developed a speech disorder that developed some time after I finished my degree. Literally, I have felt like I wasted my time with my degree, because I haven’t been able to use it like I had hoped. I have jumped from job to job hoping that the next one will be more permanent (Some of the jobs I took were only visiting or 1 year contracts).
I have wanted to give up, because I couldn’t understand why I was not getting a tenure-track position in the academic world. But, I have someone watching me and someone that I want to be better for. I want to show her that yes, life can come with it’s challenges, but you keep going. There’s more to life than letting challenges get in the way.
To add to this, 2018 was not a good year for my daughter in terms of her health. Right before she turned 2, my daughter developed a bad case of RSV. I guess the best way to describe this is that it’s a respiratory tract infection, but it sent her to the hospital for a week. My daughter wouldn’t eat much at all, so they had to put a tube in her for a while. It was incredibly disheartening to see my daughter weak and completely not herself. I was worried sick and anxious every day. However, I kept going and remained strong. Thankfully, she pulled through that and left the hospital on the day of her 2nd birthday!
Later that year, my daughter had 2 weeks where she was vomiting nearly every day. At one point, she vomited and she was choking. I managed to do back blows and stop the choking, but this was by far the scariest moment of my life! Several months later, we learned that she has a food induced allergy that inflames her esophagus. We are currently working on trying to figure out what food is causing it, but she has medications that keep her esophagus from becoming so inflamed.
Through all of this, my daughter taught me that I am strong and can help my daughter pull through these challenges. And I have learned that I am enough and that I want to be her rock that she can count on.
2.I have also learned not to take life so seriously. If anyone knows anything about me, I tend to be a very serious, inhibited person. I’m a hard worker, and I don’t play as often as I should. There are not a lot of people that can bring me to the giggles or laughing so hard It hurts. However, I will say my husband is one of those individuals who can make me laugh until I hurt.
My daughter is too. She has made me smile and laugh more times than I can count. I have to admit that I have even played “frog” with my daughter and hopped on the floor like a frog. But, we both giggled over it, and I laughed so hard at her emphatic, “Bibbet!!” for “Ribbet!”
Even just the other day, my daughter got me to run through the splashpad at the park and to have fun doing it. I was the only adult out there running around in it, but it was fun!
3.Toddlers may have the endurance of a marathon runner. I always wondered how my daughter could run around and have so much energy and never stop. According to one article by Science Daily “Children not only have fatigue-resistant muscles, but recover very quickly from high-intensity exercise–even faster than well-trained adult endurance athletes.” While these findings were for children around 9-12 years of age, I wonder if some of the same kinds of things are going on with toddlers.
My toddler has a tradition of running around after bath time with no clothes on (not sure where this comes from, but she just does it). As she does this, I will chase after her for the fun of it, but I do find that I run out of breathe a whole lot quicker than her! And even better than that, she can nearly out run me when kicking a ball around in the yard.
4.My daughter taught me about a different kind of love. When one becomes a parent, it’s a new kind of love. It’s hard to describe, but it’s one you would fight for no matter the cost. My daughter means the world, and I would do anything and everything to protect that beautiful girl. Even with the sleepless nights, the tantrums, and periods of not listening, I will always adore and love my daughter. I have learned how patient I can be, because I love her and know that she is learning how to live and develop into the person that she will become.
5.Be fearless. My daughter is fearless and rambunctious. For example, she had no fear of getting in front of an audience and singing to her heart’s content at a church program. She even tried to steal the microphone many times from her counterpart. She also was willing to walk around and play in the ocean like it was nothing (with us watching her closely, of course!). As adults, we may be more inhibited about trying new things and worried about what others think. Granted, toddlers may be fearless about trying some dangerous things sometimes. However, she has still taught me that sometimes we need to stop worrying about what others thing and just do it! It helps us live life!
6.Toddler facials may be a thing.
In other words, self-care is important! And it truly is, as we are are better parents if we take care of ourselves.
At times, life has been dark and hopeless. However, there is a beautiful family at home that needs me. I want to be that person my daughter can look up to and model. In a sense, I want to teach her that no matter how hard life gets, you keep going. The light will come out again. You just have to be patient and have faith that it will.
I am blessed beyond belief to have this wonderful daughter. And even though she is so little and so young, she has taught me so many lessons about myself and about life. And for that, I thank her.
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