Here's the first surprise: you are a parent forever.
Here's the second surprise: you are a frontline parent for just a very short period of your life.
I thought about this as I watched kids and their parents show up for the first day of school at Wasatch Elementary. Those proud parents were taking pictures of those clean, shiny kids like crazy, and I asked myself if I miss those moments.
No, not really. I had five kids, so I got my fill of Big Moments that way. But now from this vantage point (old person), I realize that even though I did have five kids, those years came and went like a short summer season. When you're in the middle of it all, you feel like it will last forever. But it doesn't.
Which is why you need to define yourself as a Whole Person--and not simply as a Parent. This is a PSA for young mothers and fathers: Embrace this time of your life fully. But nurture those other parts of yourself, as well, so they will be green and growing and ready to go when the time comes.