Wednesday, June 4, 2014

On Parenting and Working Hard Together

This baby has been living and growing in my body for more than 6 months now. He's caused endless fatigue, occasional heartburn and hemorrhoids, decreased mobility, and the threat of many other ailments (not to mention the impending pains of the actual birth). I already feel like this little guy belongs to me and should wait on me hand and foot once he's born; he should never disagree with me, nor disobey me.


My parents came to help us pack and move this weekend. My parents, and especially my mother, are the hardest working people I know, and they work very well together. I still remember the afternoon that they replaced the alternator on my old Chevy Cavalier many years ago. They were both leaning over the car together, patiently adjusting and adjusting, until they got it right. Francisco and I, on the other hand, are, let's just say, not always perfectly in sync when we're working together. (I'm not too worried--we have thirty years of working together to catch up on.)

They work far more unflaggingly than Francisco and I, and their presence spurred us to work harder and longer than they would have otherwise. My mother would clean the house far into the evening, after the rest of us could just manage to put our feet up (and she cleaned more rigorously than our house has ever been cleaned). And in the midst of our work, she would cook us lunch and dinner. And then, after carrying boxes all day, my father would wake up early to go for a run, while Francisco and I could barely get out of bed. Francisco and I have perfected the art of relaxing, not working (or maybe, to put our working habits in the best light, physical work is just really different from the work we do at our laptops).


Since I've been expecting, my mother is always happy to rub my belly; this time she had some quality time with her grandson: she talked baby talk to him, gave him a kiss, and even felt him move a little bit. It's very nice to know that our son already has people who love him this much, even before he's born. (Of course, my mother, and all the women in her family, love all the babies. But I suspect she loves this one better than others.) It makes me confident that if anything ever happened to Francisco and me, Baby Leopard would be well taken care of.


All this to say, I hope that one day I'll grow up and be as good and self-sacrificing a parent as my parents are to me. The scope of their sacrifice is only just now becoming apparent to me as I experience the very beginning of it. I can't imagine giving to your children all their lives, and then continuing to give to them as they grow up and go their own way, never asking for anything in return.

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