Sometimes the writing is on the wall. An example is when I see and hear a parent berating their child out in public. Other times it is not quite so easy. If you have ever been out in a store and witnessed new parents with their tiny bundle of joy, you know they are pleased as punch to have this little one out and about, even though the parents look exhausted. Experienced parents know that they are because there is not a lot of sleep going on in their house. The 'joy' is there, just at some point some sleep needs to take place in order to restore the very basic skills.
I always try to make a positive comment to young parents and it is heart warming to see them beam with pride that someone noticed their little one. Then the naysayer steps in and asks if it is their first? You always can tell by the look on their faces that they can't wait to get their two cents worth in. The new parents smile and say that yes it is. Then the know it all says, "Just wait." This is then followed up with a comment about the just wait for the terrible twos, all the way up to the just wait for the unruly teenage years.
Ouch! What must this young couple be thinking now? We seem to live where there are way too many negative people concerning parenting and they are not afraid to voice their opinions. When new parents are already overwhelmed, this is not the kind of feedback that they need to hear. The know it alls warning others that the worst will be coming soon. Beware!
It is no secret. Parenting is hard. It does not come with a manual. If you are doing it right, you will discover that parenting is wonderful, challenging, exhausting, heartwarming and heart breaking. So when others step in with their judging of all the doubts and despairs soon to come looking for these parents, I just want to add to their "just waits" a set of my own.
Just wait till you get that nightly snuggle and the words of, "I love you!" Or just wait till you go to their school to pick them up and they catch glimpse of you to wave and smile as if they have not seen you for days. Instead of naming all of the wonderful 'just waits,' I simply say, "Just wait for all the joy you have in your future." Milestones happen daily if you are tuned in to your child and really listen to their day.
The best part is that it just keeps growing. Now it is the 'just wait' for how special that grandchild makes every grandparent feel when they grab you around the neck and say, "I love you to the moon and back, forever and ever."
Moral of the story? It is both; all the "Joys and all the Just Waits." Enjoy and relish in them all.