WE ALL JUST WANT TO BE NOTICED

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Margot is two and a half. And she is absolutely the sweetest two and a half year old one could hope to parent. I don’t want to jinx things, but she listens extremely well, she behaves but is still being curious and fiery, she can hang with kids her age at the play place or with me sitting in a hip coffee shop coloring while dada works. I’ve even taken her with me to WeWork and she’s stolen the show and everyone wants to stop and talk to her. But there’s this one thing that happens…

We’ll be at the coffee shop or at WeWork — and there are moments when no matter how good the activity that I’ve provided her, or even if I’ve given in and let her watch an episode of “Word Party” or “PJ Masks” on my phone… those distractions aren’t good enough. She grows discontent with that thing in front of her and wants my attention. She’ll start by asking me a question or just poking me a little… something very mild. And if she doesn’t get the desired reaction, (aka my undivided attention) she’ll resort to either doubling down on the effort, or often she’ll simply try to climb on my lap. And when that happens — that moment when she crawls up on my lap and burries herself in my arms — that it all makes sense. She’s my tiny human. And no matter how important the work is in front of me, I have to pause and remind her that she is what’s most important to dada. The reality is - Margot Eloise Pringle is just doing what each and every one of us still do as adults.

We all just want to know that we are valued and cared for and that we matter to the people we love… the people in which we find our security. And just like Margot, we can get by with other distractions for a while! Replace crayolas and construction paper with shopping. Replace sippy cups of apple juice with a cocktail glass. — We all have mechanisms that are used to keep us busy and distracted. But at some point, those things just aren’t good enough. Because we’re hard-wired for relationship. For human connectivity. We all want to turn our eyes to that person we love and ask, “Hey, do you know I’m still here and do you really care?” And not only that, each of us find ourselves in both roles. Sometimes we are the one who craves a little attention and affirmation. Other moments we’re the one whose task is to liberally give that attention and affirmation to someone else.

The longer I parent, the more I realize that we are all the exact same. Whether two or two hundred… we have the exact same basic needs. And all that it takes is for each of us to be vulnerable enough to own both roles. The more we are willing to take pause and do just that, the better it gets for us all. A rising tide raises all ships. Let’s love those that need it, and be willing to say when we need it too.

Cheers, dear ones.

THEN SHE HUGGED ME

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I used to call her the tiny terrorist. Because when I found out I was going to be a father, it meant that my life was about to be overtaken and interrupted by someone who was uninvited. It meant I wasn't going to get to hop on a plane to Iceland, and then hop another plane to Nepal. Because that's when Margot Eloise Pringle was going to make her grand appearance. And when she was born, there was nothing that could have prepared my heart for the hijacking that was about to take place. You see -- I was the guy who wasn't kid averse. (I'm the oldest of six! I've been around kids my whole life.) It's more just that I had a comfortable lifestyle that would be inhibited if a tiny human came in to the picture. But the interesting thing about it is, once that tiny human arrived, and now that she's old enough to throw her sweet little arms around my neck and squeal "daddy!", it's all worth it. Here are a few lessons I've learned from being a father thus far:

1 - Your life doesn't end, it grows more rich and meaningful. // It's true. It's cliche, but screw it. It's true. Life takes on a whole new perspective and there's a care and an empathy that one develops when they have the responsibility to now see everything through not just their own lens, but the lens of such an innocent soul. I think it's because you now have to actually take time to explain and engage with the world around you on their behalf, when before, I was too busy and distracted to often see what was right in front of me.

2 - Your activities don't have to cease. // You can still be you. Do you love hiking? Cool. You can still hike. Do you enjoy traveling? Cool. Go do it. It's really not as complicated as it's made out to be. Sure, it requires more forethought and planning. But a little one does NOT necessarily mean you no longer get to enjoy the things you love.

3 - It teaches you about sacrifice -- and that's a good thing. // There is nothing more freeing than learning what matters. A child does mean that your finances are re-prioritized, and how you spend your energy shifts. The amazing realization that happens inside of that -- if you let it -- is that there is incredible freedom found in not being bound to the things you once thought you were bound to. 

Margot is still a tiny one. There's a long road ahead. But I can say from the deepest parts of my bones that I'd have it no other way.