Pregnant women attract advice. It is a law of nature that 80% of the people a pregnant woman meets want to share their views on parenting. While advice givers typically have the best intentions, all the unsolicited anecdotes can get a bit old, especially considering that almost none of these people have ever raised multiples. This week, though, I received quite a jewel from a neighbor.
I have recently been struggling a bit. Not working feels like not contributing, and doubts about my worth to our family have crept in. I know all the right things to say...that monetary contributions do not define worth, that worth comes from God alone, that being a mom is an important job. Knowing the truth and believing it, though, are two different feats.
An older man walks through our neighborhood constantly. He had a heart attack a few years ago, and now maintains a certain number of steps per day. During these walks, he speaks to everyone he sees and always has a smile on his face. We saw him Wednesday evening, and as he was inquiring about the babies' status, he mentioned that he only had one piece of advice. I braced myself for more tips about eating or sleeping, but instead heard this: "You only get one chance to be a good parent."
I have an indefinite time to build a career, to make money, to contribute in some work-oriented way to society. But our twins will only be babies this once. Once a milestone passes, it will not come again. I'm so thankful to be reminded of this, and thankful that our neighbor shared his sweet wisdom.