Let's face it: growing up is hard to do. Kids aren't born with an instruction manual. If they were, parents wouldn't be faced with fears and uncertainties as their children grow.
If it were only that simple. I can't tell you how many times I wish I could turn to a book, wave my magic wand and say, "Abracadabra!"
This so-called magic manual would basically redeem every parent's mistakes and errors in judgment out there. The person who publishes this book could retire rich.
I know I wish I had the book on the days Emma is cranky and not feeling well, and I'm sure my parents wish they had one when my sisters and I were growing up.
I can recall screaming at my mom and dad, "I can't stand you! It's not fair!" Or the several hundred times when my sisters and I hit and punched each other when we were teenagers. I'm sure my parents loved watching their children physically assault one another.
Of course, they would ground us, send us to our room and even threaten us with the dreaded wooden spoon. I hated that wooden spoon, and I'm still afraid of it to this day. It still resides in it's Longaberger-basket home on our kitchen countertop.
But looking back on it, I know my parents were just looking out for me and my two sisters because they loved us. They provided us with such an unconditional love to ensure we would grow up as successful and loving adults.
Children grow at a miraculous rate. When my daughter was born, my mom and several others told me to cherish the moments I had with her while she was a newborn - because before I knew it she would be walking and talking.
This past week, Emma turned three months old and I have no idea where all that time went. Before I know it, she'll be dating boys and going off to her very first prom.
Did you ever notice that children have an uncanny knack of turning into their parents when they become adults? I despised my parents' rules growing up, and I'm sure I spewed bouts of nonsense from time to time.
"If I ever have a girl of my own, she will ALWAYS be allowed to have boys over to the house!" I actually remember arguing with my parents about that when I was a 15-year-old. My parents always insisted that boys not be allowed to visit, and at the time I didn't understand why.
Gee, my parents were pretty smart back then. I may not be as strict with Emma as my parents were with me, but I'm still not sure I will allow Emma to have a boy over when she is a young teenager. I know she might say she despises me at times, but I'm sure she can learn to look past that just as I did.
Having my daughter has brought joy into my life, and although some day in the future an instruction manual may be very helpful, I know I will learn along the way just as my parents did, and Emma will, too.
Tara Maguire is a Sentinel reporter. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.