It was 10 years ago today that my girlfriend and I welcomed our first child, our son Olivier, to the family.
I remember the day quite well. It had been snowing heavily in Montreal, and the streets were lined with massive piles of the white stuff. I went off to work that morning, as I always did. Not more than an hour after getting to the office, my phone rang. My girlfriend was having contractions.
I rushed home, grabbed our suitcase, got my girlfriend in the car, and sped off to the hospital.
We managed to make it in the nick of time. About 45 minutes later, I was trying to cut my son’s umbilical cord through watery eyes.
I was laughing and crying. The joy was overwhelming.
WAIT A MINUTE – HOW DO I DO THIS?
When the dust finally settled, I must admit the learning curve was somewhat steep. No matter how much you tell yourself the exact opposite, you’re never READY to have kids!
Face it: your life changes from the minute that little bugger takes its first breath.
Someone’s life has been put into your hands. This tiny little human being, who nearly fits in the palm of your hand, is depending on you for everything.
It’s daunting. Friggin’ terrifying!
I remember sitting in his room at 3 a.m. in the morning, trying to lull him back to sleep, wondering how in the world I was going to protect this little guy and give him the life he deserved.
Kids don’t come with instruction manuals or user’s guides. There’s no magic formula guaranteed to turn your child into the next Albert Einstein or Michael Jordan. But there’s no guarantee that you’re raising a new Hitler, either.
So you do your best. You try to take what you think your parents did well with you and apply it to your own child. You try to learn from their mistakes. You listen to the advice people give you (and you get advice, tons of it), and try to distinguish the good from the bad.
Being a parent means being a teacher. That’s fine. But how do you teach something which you learned so long ago yourself? So long ago that you don’t remember how your parents thought you?
Like swimming. For as long as I can remember, I’ve known how to swim. But I have no idea who showed me how to swim or how I learned it. Same thing for riding a bike. How was I supposed to teach my 6 year-old son to ride a bike?
Well, just like everything else you do as a parent: you wing it. You close your eyes and hope for the best!
NOT GOING BACK
Today, despite my initial fears and those that still linger, I must admit that my girlfriend and I are raising a fantastic young man (and an equally fantastic young woman, born in March 2008).
Our son is a voracious reader (just like his dad). His thirst for knowledge is off the charts. He loves sports, video games, and movies. His sense of humor needs some work, but you can see the potential! Proof that the apple does not fall far from the tree!
One thing is for sure, I wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world. There is no way I would go back to the life I had before that afternoon in December 2005.
I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years have in store for us!