Lucky Dad No. 2: You Can't Spoil a Child by Loving Her Too Much
I’ve always wanted to be a father. This was not my only ambition in life, but as I came of age and started imagining various careers and futures, the one constant was that raising a family would be at the core of my adult life.
I was the second of seven children, and Nancy was the youngest. When she joined the world I was 14 years old, and deeply engaged in the drama of my own teenage life, but from the start I absolutely loved that little baby. I helped to change her diapers, sing her songs, read her stories, put her to bed, and stuff her little face with baby food. To be sure, our mother had the primary responsibility in these departments, and I was a mere supernumerary, but I thought it was all great. Nancy was a fantastic little girl, and having her around was wonderful. I love my others siblings, too, but Nancy was the one who came along when I was old enough to comprehend, at least in part, what it was like to raise a child. After Nancy arrived, I had no doubt but that I wanted to have a family of my own one day.
My Mom loved babies, which is a good thing, considering she had seven of them. Mom has a savant-like ability to calm down any baby, no matter how fussy. Babies require a lot of attention, and they usually get it, which is why older siblings are often jealous of new arrivals. In a family of seven children, one-on-one parental attention can be hard to come by, and I remember an occasion where one of the other kids complained that she thought Mom was paying too much attention to Nancy, thereby spoiling her. My mother had the perfect response:
“You can’t spoil a child by loving her too much.”
That’s a pretty good ground rule to start the game.