You haven't met your child yet

She has my eyes, but this nose is definitely her dad’s.”

His personality is like mine, but her love of sports is just like her mother.

I don’t know who she looks like, maybe my maternal grandmother.

We have all heard these colloquialisms from parents with varying degrees of identification with their children. Parents have a sort of expectation that their children will reflect who they are, or at least the best parts of them.

But here’s another way of looking at it: You don’t know who your child is. I know - such a concept. But after carrying her for 9 months, feeding her, and changing her diapers, what? I don’t know her? She’s mine, I made her!

I know it sounds shocking, maybe ridiculous but waits, chill out - it's actually good news! What a beautiful idea that you have been assigned to care for a brand new person as you discover who they are. And guess what? At the same time, she is also discovering who she is. And maybe that is our job as parents. Maybe she picked you to be her parents, to do it with her.

This idea turns the whole parental possessiveness and identification on its head. For me, it immediately relaxes me from the expectation that I need to make sure my son ends up like me. Instead, it puts me in a state of wonder, openness, and collaboration with this incredible, incredible being. Who is this person? Let me find out, let me help. Why did they pick me? Do I have the best qualities to best care for them? To teach them to become who they truly are? What awesome questions! What awesome wonderings! What a great place to start as parents. And what a beautiful way to start a relationship with your own child.

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