Extreme Giving

by Jason Kotecki on · 9 comments

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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