A few weeks ago Esther, Cristian, and I participated in a charity walk — we do a lot of them. For years Esther and I have been running, riding, and walking for many causes. Finishing the walk we ran into a cousin we haven’t seen in quite some time.
We caught up on how she’s been and what’s new with various aunts and cousins as she played with the baby. We answered the usual baby-related questions. How’s he sleeping? Is he walking? Then came the curveball, are you planning another child?
When Cristian was born I knew he was one and done — although the hospital staff had other ideas. Waiting for Esther and the baby to be released they planned our next child as I was online researching vasectomies.
In my mind’s eye, I always pictured two kids. I’m the younger of two, most of my friends have two — except for my Aunt, Titi Carmen, who has seven — she kept trying for the girl. If I suggest seven children to my better half she’d handle the vasectomy herself.
Old schoolers insist one child is easy, providing no challenge — real parenting starts with (at least) two. I come from a big family, Mom is the oldest of eight — of course in those days children doubled as indentured servants. I can only imagine what Titi Carmen would say if I asked her opinion.
Esther and I are both experienced multi-taskers. Professionally we’ve mentored and trained employees and managed the expectations of the most difficult clients. Outside of work we’ve run over 250 races including 24 marathons and two ultras. We’ve never lacked energy, but toddlers are the great equalizer.
Over the past months, our fragile newborn developed into a full-blown toddler — funny how that happens. Crawling and walking were replaced by climbing and exploring. Temper tantrums are now part of his personality and bedtime is a nightly challenge of who can outlast who. So far we have the upper hand.
Becoming a Dad at 50 meant Cristian is probably one and done — this concerned me and still does a little. Raising an only child is different than raising several children. With no siblings to play with we enrolled him in classes at My Gym, twice a week he goes to storytime at the local library, and we are always inviting cousins over for playdates.
Parenting at any age and family size is a challenge, most things worth having are. Taking care of my son as I work from home affords me a luxury many parents don’t have — I experience many of his firsts with him, instead of hearing about them—although some days it doesn’t seem that way.
Raising a child is a lot like running a marathon, energy is required, but pacing is important as well. I’m still at the beginning knowing there are hills to climb and challenges to meet, but the end result is worth it.