By Amy Amatangelo
Time changes when you become a parent.
Or at least it did for me.
I’m not talking about how fast the years go by, which, of course, they do. I look at pictures of my daughter from last Christmas and I cannot believe how much she has changed in the past year. And how it doesn’t seem like it’s been 12 months since I was last stressing about preparing for Christmas.
I’m talking about the other cliché about parenthood – the years are fast but the days are long. For me, the perspective shift on time happened while I was pregnant. Before I became pregnant if I heard about someone having a miscarriage, I thought it was very sad and felt a great deal of sympathy for the parents. But it wasn’t until I became pregnant myself that I really understood how long six, eight, ten or 12 weeks of pregnancy truly is. That those are weeks full of hopes and plans and dreams for your unborn child. Weeks of reading pregnancy books and getting weekly email updates. Weeks of sharing the news with family and friends. While I was blessed to have a healthy pregnancy, I understood the pain of those who have miscarried more acutely.
And when I think about the tragedy in Newtown, I think not only of the birthdays, graduations, and weddings those beautiful children had ahead of them. I think of how many diaper changes, baths and bedtime routines happen in six or seven years. How many jars of food are spoon fed. How many books are read. How many teeth are brushed. How many loads of laundry are done. How many songs are sung. How many nights are spent up with a sick child. How many milestones are celebrated. How many family vacations are taken. How many smiles are smiled. I think about all the parental worry that can happen in six or seven years. Will she ever toilet train? Is he eating right? Am I picking the right preschool?
So much life happens in six or seven years. It is way too short amount of time to parent a child. But it also a long time to be someone’s parent. I think about this and it tears me to my very core as I grieve for the parents of the Newtown victims and any parent who has lost a child.