Extreme Giving

by Jason Kotecki on · 9 comments

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I’ve been doing a lot of giv­ing lately. ’Tis the sea­son, right? But I’m not talk­ing about gift cards to Out­back Steak­house or the “I saw this sweater and thought of you” type of giv­ing. You see, just about two weeks ago, my wife Kim gave birth to our sec­ond child, a baby boy named Ben. (Wel­come, Ben!) Most of my time has been donated to help with dia­pers, feed­ings, cook­ing, clean­ing, and absorb­ing the atten­tion of a needy three-year-old big sis­ter. I give as much as I can and take sleep when I can get it.

Any­body who has kids knows this rou­tine. The first month (or more) can be hell. You give and give and give, while hold­ing up any gas-induced smile as real proof that this lit­tle being is truly appre­cia­tive of your unceas­ing effort. (It’s not, but it’s imper­a­tive to pre­tend that it is.)

Before Kim and I had our first child, many peo­ple warned us that we’d even­tu­ally suc­cumb to Adul­ti­tis once we became par­ents. They assured us that kids were the undis­puted CAUSE of Adul­ti­tis. We weren’t so sure, so we kept weekly jour­nals through­out our entire first year of par­ent­hood in order to stay mind­ful of our bat­tle with the “Big A.” The process was fas­ci­nat­ing, and even­tu­ally turned into a book that just so hap­pened to come into the world at about the same time as lit­tle Ben. (Wel­come, book!) When the boxes of them arrived from the printer, I opened one and landed on an entry I wrote six months into my first par­ent­ing foray. Here it is in its entirety: * * * *

My best friend’s sis­ter just had a baby. We’ve been hear­ing a lot of sto­ries about the new par­ents, includ­ing the stan­dard late nights and issues with feed­ing and pump­ing. It seems like all babies have some sort of dilemma to deal with at the begin­ning, some­thing that usu­ally overly con­cerns the par­ents, espe­cially new ones. The “issue” varies from kid to kid, but the fact that there usu­ally IS one is normal.

Any­way, hear­ing their sto­ries took me back to our first days. I couldn’t believe how much I’d already for­got­ten about that first month. How hard it was. And nerve-wracking. And tir­ing. Believe me, a six-month-old is no walk in the park, but I’d take it over a six-day-old any time (as far as the work part is concerned).

I sup­pose the for­get­ful­ness is God’s lit­tle way of keep­ing the human race going. It’s hard to imag­ine any­one putting them­selves though the trauma of labor and the first few weeks again if it weren’t for the mem­ory fad­ing a bit. Hap­pily, the good mem­o­ries remain, and the unpleas­ant ones lessen in their intensity.

But the real point I want to make, espe­cially if you are a new parent-to-be or a freshly minted mom or dad going through this period we call boot camp, is this: There is a light at the end of the tun­nel. It gets bet­ter. And eas­ier. I know, it’s a small con­so­la­tion if you’re smack dab in the mid­dle of it, but it’s true.

The work is hard, but the rewards are great. I already miss the early days when Lucy was that small – sweet and help­less and awe­somely new.

I miss those days enough that I’m begin­ning to con­sider the prospect of going through it again. Eventually.

* * * * I intended for that jour­nal entry to be a ray of hope to other moms and dads. Lit­tle did I know I was also writ­ing to myself.

Re-reading it has helped me to remem­ber that although giv­ing is always part of the gig, it will not always be this tax­ing. And it reminded me to pay atten­tion to the lit­tle gifts I get along the way: Feed­ing my new son under the glow of the Christ­mas tree, the smell of his lit­tle fuzzy head, and the irre­sistible grunts and squeaks that only new­borns can make. Indeed, giv­ing always rewards the giver in unex­pected and boun­ti­ful ways.

That’s how giv­ing works.


by Jason Kotecki

Jason Kotecki is an artist, author, and pro­fes­sional speaker. Jason and his wife Kim (a for­mer kinder­garten teacher) make it their mis­sion in life to fight Adul­ti­tis and help peo­ple use strate­gies from child­hood to design lives with less stress and more fun. Stop by www.KimandJason.com for more tips for escap­ing adulthood.
Jason Kotecki
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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Patricia - Patricias Wisdom December 13, 2011 at 4:56 pm

I so enjoyed reading this post and I love the smell of a newborn – especially the top of the head smell…

Oh and that early giving is so important and pays such amazing dividends of life and love…

Wow, you kindled so many good memories…

Now I have to get on the phone and see how my 28 year old baby is doing…she was sent home from school for having the stomach flu…. always giving

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Jason of Kim & Jason December 14, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Patricia, I hope you baby is doing okay!

Yes, that baby head smell is the best. I often refer to it as “new person smell.”

Cars can have it, why not people?
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Patricia - Patricias Wisdom December 14, 2011 at 2:26 pm

That 28 year old baby is doing better – fever broke and she can go back to school tomorrow for work. This was the first time she was ever sent home from school for being ill! In her whole life – now some days she stayed home sick, but she usually got sick during the night and we did not get her back to school until she was recovered.
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Ken Wert December 14, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Wow. So many memories came flooding back as I read your beautifully-written account here. My wife and I have two kids with a 15 year gap between the two (that’s a story unto itself!). My youngest is a boisterous and rambunctious 5-year-old who climbs walls and jumps and kicks and runs and smiles and laughs and keeps us very, very busy. But your post today brought be back to those initial days and weeks after birth. I remember it all so very well. And you’re right. Only the good memories remain. I remember watching the World Cup on late night TV at all ungodly hours of the morning, rocking my boy back to sleep. The greatest reward of giving is the love the giving creates.

Thanks for sharing your first steps into parenthood.
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Jason of Kim & Jason December 15, 2011 at 8:40 am

Thanks, Ken! I wish there was a way to slow down time, but at least we can relive the good moments in our minds, right?
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Anna December 19, 2011 at 8:34 am

So many memories…I remember the smell of my newborn baby’s hair…
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Ira December 21, 2011 at 10:52 am

Congrats Jason and welcome to Ben. :) I so want to have a baby too but I’m having some jitters.lol I want to have a baby but I don’t feel like I’m ready yet but my mid-twenties age is telling me to start planning now. yay!

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Jason of Kim & Jason December 30, 2011 at 8:48 am

Having a baby is scary, Ira, but it’s also awesome. I don’t think you’ll ever regret it!
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