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A couple of social media happenings collided today that highlighted for me the full spectrum of my parenting experience.

My cousin, who had her first baby last week, sent an email to family and friends detailing the onset of labor, the fairly easy delivery and the happy, easy-going baby and placid first-time parents who now reside in their home.  Those happy hormones of early motherhood oozed through her email and the sheer joy of seeing a person that you and the person you used to love most in the world created together shone from every word.

I remember that feeling.  I have it still at various moments for the two children that my husband and I made together.  I’m not going to lie.  There’s some heavy narcissism wrapped up in that feeling.  Look what we’ve done and how wonderful it is.  Look how much they’re like us.  Isn’t that amazing?

For my children that we did not create together, I have also had moments of immense pride, but the narcissism is different.  I can take pride in having nurtured or influenced, but not in having created.  That was done before I was in the picture.    I think in many ways I have a purer pride in their achievements because I’m proud for them, not for me.

Which brings me to my second social media moment.  My aunt posted to Facebook today her pride as a mom that my cousin, a phenomenal trumpet player, has made it to the National Trumpet Competition semi-finals.  That’s a huge deal for a kid from a very small town.

I’m very happy for my cousin.  He’s earned it.  I’m happy for my aunt.  She’s earned it, too, with hours of listening to trumpet practice and hours spent driving to special trumpet lessons and various festivals and competitions, not to mention hours of role modeling a lifelong love of creating music.

But I couldn’t help but itch to respond how proud I am that my oldest has his first preliminary hearing for several felony counts tomorrow.  It’s a milestone in a man’s life.  Doesn’t your child’s baby book have a spot for those details? Hmmmm…….

When those miracles enter our lives through our act of loving another person, whether that entrance is through a birth canal or a marriage certificate, we start a lifelong love affair that is stronger than any we had anticipated to that point.  We see the hope and promise that youth offers.  I doubt many bring children into their lives looking forward to failure and despair.

I didn’t make my post to Facebook.  Facebook is for the lives we want to lead, not the ones we do.  And when reality gets too real in social media, the herd abandons its weakest members like a three-legged gazelle in a herd chased by lions.  Avert your eyes, children.  It’s not nice to stare.  And, ooooo, look at that cute little baby.  Isn’t s/he precious?  Look quick for the tattoo that marks it as the future felon.

Little too determinist?  And I don’t even like Calvin.  He just keeps turning back up like some bad damn theological penny.