When Parenting Gets Real: The Velveteen Rabbit moments

I’ve had a few of these moments in my life. The velveteen rabbit moments. Maybe you’ve had them yourself. They’re the moments where it seems so “real” for the very first time.. moments where I’ve always “heard” it would be this way but now I see it and experience it for the very first time.

And so it was this weekend- my next velveteen rabbit moment- the stage of parenting I’ve always heard about but seemingly never really experienced. Until now. And it came courtesy of our two kids who both reached big achievements this weekend.

Our older daughter who has been part of the drama club with small parts over the last couple of years took on the part of “Edna” in Hairspray. A leading role. She took the stage and rocked it- singing- dancing- delivering some of the funniest lines in the entire show. I sat there in the audience smiling ear to ear as I listened to her sing, a smile mixed with tears in my eyes. HOW and when did my little gal turn into the kid with one of the leading roles in the school musical. She earned a huge ovation at the end and flowers from mom, dad, and a proud little sister.

That little sister is in the third session of soccer this year- spring cup- a traveling team for soccer all stars. I’ll be honest. She didn’t look like she belonged at the beginning of the year. Other kids had been playing longer and they had more skills and more training. But she worked. And she worked. And she slowly became a defender, and then a star defender. And this weekend they took one game to get into the championship, and then they WON the championship. She got her medal as one of the coaches nicknamed her, “The Wall”.

Two girls. Two huge achievements. And somehow as I sat there between two musicals and two soccer games I realized something: the kids’ achievements had become my achievements. What I mean is, I used to measure my success by what I myself had accomplished. Then what me and my wife accomplished as a team. But now, more and more, I am measuring success by what I’m there to witness my KIDS accomplishing. Yes we had all those little milestones along the way- milestones every little kid has: first steps, first words. This is different. This is these humans coming into their own as people, blazing their own trail on the planet, showing their own talents, and growing as people. Growing.

Their success is our success as a family, as a couple, as me a dad. Sure I still work towards my own goals and achievements. But lately, I’m getting a bigger kick out of their own goals and achievements. The velveteen rabbit moment. This parenting thing just got even more real.



About Pete Wilgoren

Author of Dadmissions. Pete Wilgoren is an Emmy winning journalist, blogger, and author writing about parenthood, life, and other stuff
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