It’s like riding a bike!
Gideon is crying and in my mind I’m trying to remind myself how I handled this with Liam and Duncan. This should be easy. It’s my third time with a newborn. It’s like riding a bike! You never forget, right?
The only problem is you do forget. And, life has changed from before so you’re dealing with a new set of variables. Not to mention, you have a new individual. It’s not a clone of any of your previous children.
If being a parent again is like riding a bike, then it’s like taking a two year break from riding a bike and then being asked to compete and finish a race you’ve never competed in a day before it begins. That’s what it’s like.
What’s the same? Nothing. It’s like riding a bike, except the bike has changed, the course has changed, your teammates have changed, your body has changed.
The bike would be like parenting. My parenting style has changed and matured a lot since Liam was born in November 2006. I would hope it has changed. I would hope I’d have learned a few things. I don’t want to be the same parent I was almost five years ago. I need to keep learning and growing, and then utilizing the new things I learn as a parent. What good is it to have new learnings, methodologies and technologies if you aren’t going to use them?
The course would be like my life stage. Where I’m at in life is vastly different that it was in 2006. In 2006, I had no kids, was still young in my marriage with Jana, getting reacquainted with Omaha and was establishing myself at CCC. In between then and Gideon, I’ve had two sons, my marriage has grown and matured immensely, I’m better networked in and around Omaha, and my responsibilities have been added to at CCC. Where I’m headed is much different than where I was headed five years ago.
The teammates would be like the people I’m in community with. Jana and I have never been better or stronger in our marriage. I feel like our relationship has been refined, and that’s made us better. Who we are in small groups with is completely different, though. The friends I interact with consistently is different than it was five years ago. The people I work with has changed and will continue to do so.
And, I have changed. I’m not the same person I was five years ago. My schedule is different. I eat better. I see more and more gray hair. I need rest. I’ve simplified a lot of things in my life out of want and need. I’m not as emotional. I’m more grounded.
Parenting is like riding a bike, only it’s not. Sure, at the core there are constants that will always apply, like love, but so much of it is learning and adapting. I don’t want to always revert in my mind to 2006 with parenting Gideon. I want to keep learning and maturing as a man, husband, father, leader and servant. I need to be aware so I can best prepare my boys for the future, and not prepare them for the past.
It’s not that I forgot, it’s that I need to learn what’s right for the now.
So, Gideon is crying. He is not Liam or Duncan. He is Gideon, and what works to help assuage his crying may not be what worked for Liam and Duncan. I hold him, and begin walking around the room. I rock him gently, pat him softly, and continue walking around the room. I talk to him as I walk. He calms down. I continue to walk around the room, and he is quickly asleep. A different technique than what I did to calm Liam or Duncan when they were newborns.