If I pass a man on the street and I see him carrying a child, and he sees me pushing mine in a stroller, we nod to each other.
It is much like people who ride motorcycles, jeeps and a brotherhood do. It means that you are in the "club" even though there were no formal arrangements or inductions. It's the baby club I speak of...
Until you are in this club, you really have no idea. My friend Glen once told me this years ago, and although I understood what he was saying, and I understood the concept, I didn't see what the big deal was. To me, I always wanted kids. I also understood that some people weren't meant to have kids, or some didn't want or couldn't have kids. Would that make you excluded from this club?
Unfortunately, it does...
Until you see that baby that shares your mongrel blood and have to love it, despite that fact, you wouldn't understand. You could empathize, but never sympathize. There is a morphing process that happens that changes you forever and you change forever because of it.
I like the story of walking in the woods and seeing a larvae struggling to get out of its shell to become a butterfly. It needs hours of preparation to weaken its shell, and get out before it can appear to the world as a beautiful butterfly that we see. But in this case, I can't wait that long. I become impatient and decided to help speed to the process out because I want to see this moment where it breaks free and becomes this beautiful creature so I gently slit its shell and enable it to escape and appear. What I didn't know was that in helping this butterfly, I have actually killed it.
You see, it needed to struggle for a few hours to break through that shell in order to strengthen its wings so it can fly. By helping it, I haven't allowed it to struggle and build it's wing strength up, and now it will surely die.
I feel that same way when I struggle. I need to struggle in order to get stronger, and certainly learning from my child helps this process. When you struggle for your own existence, it is living. When you struggle for someone Else's existence, it is learning. No preparation could prepare you for this before your own kids.
I would like to think that people around the world are different, but that we all share a common link via our children. Lifestyles may vary, religions differ, and customs and education are subjective, but we all share that same bond with our children.
I love the quote from JFK when he took office as President in the early 1960's. He had a young daughter, lost a son to childbirth in the White House and then had little John-John. A President with a young family has a different perspective than one without. I have heard these words many times in my life, but I have never understood them as I do now...
"For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal."
If you break it down like that, it kind of puts everything into perspective, doesn't it?