Is she really ours?


When they put our oldest daughter in my arms at the hospital, I had an odd feeling that someone would come and take her away. She was too perfect, too precious to be ours. I waited for them to come back and say “our bad” and give us the right baby. They never did.

I realize now I was scared to ruin something so beautiful and right if that makes sense. I wasn’t sure if I had what it took to be a father—still don’t some days—and that sense of doubt makes parenting a challenge. You second-guess yourself a lot. You wonder if what you’re doing is setting up your child for success or a lifetime of therapy … or both!

There are a ton of books on parenting, but not one is titled “Being the Dad of Abby,” so they aren’t much help to me. Sure, they give great advice on raising a typical child, but as every parent knows, there is no such thing as a typical child. Every child is different, and in our house the difference between Abby and her sister is night and day.

Let me say I had the same feeling at the hospital with our youngest as I did with Abby, but on a different level. She was just as perfect and couldn’t be ours, but when Abby saw her sister and held her for the first time, I knew both of them were ours. I digress.

Those parenting books tell you never to compare your children, but we do. Your oldest set the bar and reached certain milestones that we all compare to our future children. It’s human nature for a parent to see how one is doing over the other, but what’s not right is pushing the younger ones if they aren’t meeting those milestones in the same amount of time. Allow the younger ones be their own people. Society will try to pigeonhole your children, so let them be themselves at home.

We’ve been a little freer with our little one, but not because we have become lax. Far from it. But we recognized early on that she’s more of a free spirit than her sister and she’s going to take a different path. Oh sure, she wants to do everything her big sister does, but she has an independent streak the Founding Fathers would have been envious of. She’s our comedian, our peacemaker and above everything else, our helper.

Self-doubt creeps into every parent’s head, but when you see your children use their “please and thank you” manners, you feel like you’re doing something right. This whole parenting thing can be boiled down to little victories—be it sleeping through the night for the little ones to walking out after parent/teacher conferences with your head held high, you start to realize you’re doing OK at this parenting thing.

It’s been a little more than nine years since they put Abby in my arms and they haven’t come back to get her, so I guess she’s here to stay and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

– Jim Pesta is a Parenting Program participant and father of two girls.

1 Response to “Is she really ours?”

  1. 1 Jerry December 10, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Well done Jim:)

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