Having spent most of a week adoring my wee grandson, I have also had time to consider how my parenting may have impacting my amazing son. He, like Kai, is a firstborn child. He did not have the advantage of grandparents at close hand, nor a community which even though they are not parents are so in support of my daughter and son-in-law being Mom and Dad, not just the same party-ing buddies they used to have. There are many more aspects of my son's childhood which haunt me and I would re-do given another kick at it, but here are the ways that he did get good lovin':
1. His mom & dad stayed together, through thick and thin (and many bizarre episodes in between), providing consistency and an example of a couple working through it all;
2. He had the balance of both maternal and paternal loving and while as the maternal influence, I often thought that the paternal impact was odd and not the way I would have done it, I have come to see that both aspects are needed for harmony in maturity;
3. He was brought up in a community where he was exposed to many loving adults and children, diverse situations which allowed him to see that there are many ways to be a family;
4. He had the opportunity to listen to a huge variety of music and choose his own favourites;
5. He saw live theatre, dance performances, numerous sporting events and music concerts;
6. He explored outdoors - on his own with little supervision in the relatively safe environment of our housing co-op and beyond in parks and wilderness with us on adventures;
7. He got a trip to Europe and a year of post-secondary education paid for by the parents and learned a great deal from both;
8. He travelled to Mexico with the family and saw both extreme poverty and tourist-y luxury;
9. He was encouraged to speak his mind, tell his truth and share without consequence;
10. He was always loved, loved and loved some more.
As a new grandparent, I can see the trepidation of the new parents, "what if we screw this up?" and the overriding desire to keep the little guy safe and protected. Since kids don't come with handbooks and even if they did, the continuous updates would make them useless, we all just do our best, trust that will be enough and love our children some more. Love is the final answer!