Parenting; with no instructions

My son Xander was born 25 years ago. I was 20 years old when he was born. My wife Melanie and I arrived home after the most careful drive ever. I put the baby down in his crib and I saw the new computer I had purchased a few days earlier. That computer build was going to have to wait for a few weeks. I struggled to breathe with the enormity of the the responsibility laying there looking at me.

Accompanying the computer was a huge software manual on the table. I looked at the manual, over 400 pages of instruction, then looked at my baby boy, then back at the manual and finally my gaze returned to his blue eyes. There was a tiny human looking up at me with zero documentation, how wonderfully terrifying!

Fast forward to 2020; Xander is a high school chemistry teacher. My daughter Natalie is 21, just graduated from university and is studying for her Masters. Melanie and I despite the odds did alright, they are wonderful young adults and a credit to us both.

I have had a photo of my kids in the overleaf of every notebook since 1995. An arrow that points to the photo in bright blue pen says ‘My why’. A manual can tell you how to do something, but if the ‘why’ is big enough the how doesn’t matter.

Published by NCS

reader of great literature, teller of tales, photographer of mostly awful snaps but on occasion I am half decent.

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