You who are parents may remember how you left home one day as your normal self, and came home another day as a parent. You were still the same person, with the same siblings, the same job, the same home, but the new addition of a baby changed the balance of your life, instantly and even more over time. In the beginning, ‘parenting’ involves attending to simple needs: safety, the practicalities of feeding and changing diapers, finding rhythms and shaping schedules, getting new equipment, learning the sound of different kinds of crying and what they mean, having visits with the doctor and other knowledgeable people, and receiving congratulations and extra attention from friends and strangers alike. For the first while, it’s a mixture of excitement, learning curve, concern, joy and sometimes exhaustion. As we gain experience in caring for the baby, the new routines get sorted out, and the child starts to grow, our attention turns to the question of how we want to raise the child. What values do we hope to embody as parents? What do we wish for our children’s lives, and how will we foster that as they grow up in the years ahead?
We will be much like new parents learning the basics as we take up residence at the New Home – hopefully without the exhaustion. Like new parents, our first weeks and months will involve many practical questions about how things work and who does what.