Everything changes when you have a kid. Everything. Wait, let me amend that. The physical structure of the world and everything in it doesn’t change. That would be ridiculous. What I mean to say is that the way you see the world and everything in it changes, as well as how you approach it and behave in it. It happens in the space of a heartbeat, and, as far as I can tell, lasts until you take you final breath.
For example, before my daughter was born, the scream of a baby was, at best, a minor annoyance. Put that scream on an airplane, or any other enclosed, inescapable space, and that annoyance multiplies exponentially. Until it’s your kid. When it’s my daughter, and I’m driving her around in the car in the middle of the night in an attempt to calm her down and give Mama a break, I can listen to it for as long as I need to. Does that mean that my girl’s piercing cry has some magical quality that other children don’t have. Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. Because she’s MY KID. I hear her differently because she’s flesh of my flesh and blood of my blood, fruit of my loins.
Not only do I see her differently than other children, I see the world differently. I try to imagine the world through her eyes, the daily discoveries she makes that we all-important grown-ups take for granted. Shortly after her birth (well, six months or so), I took my child and sat her on my lap and played piano for her. Nothing complicated. I played with one hand and held her with the other. No one in the world would pay to hear that, unless they’re musical masochists. I don’t think I could pay anyone to listen to that. But she smiled and laughed as I played and sang. This was her first exposure to music, and it came from her daddy’s hands and voice. And she liked it. Judges on America’s Got Talent, or The Voice, or any other competition be damned. Hers is the only opinion I care about, and her smiles at my playing are worth more than all the critics’ and judges’ opinions combined.
We’re 16 months deep in this crazy ride, and my amazing, brilliant daughter has about a 40 word vocabulary under her tiny belt. This means that, by the time she’s four, she’s going to be able to lawyer me under the table. Heck, she already bends me to her will just by smiling at me. I don’t stand a chance. But I will celebrate each and every new word like she’s just won the Nobel Peace Prize. Why? Because, as stated above, she’s MY KID. I will encourage her drive to learn, her curiosity, and her joy of discovery every moment o every day. How else will she be able to take over the world?