And the main thing, for me, is that I had a very happy childhood and I cannot imagine a greater gift I could give to another person. That's not to say that it was perfect; far from it--there was quite a bit of unhappiness, too--and that's probably inevitable. But I have so many memories of beautiful, joyous moments.
It's true that I was plagued from a very young age (if not from the beginning of conscious life) by a deep and pervasive sense of shame--as if there was something wrong with me for which I deserved punishment that had not yet come, but surely would. And thank God that's gone away by stages later in life.
But in spite of that anxiety-producing and ever-present backdrop to all experiences, I nonetheless also felt secure and loved by God and my family, enjoying a kind of peaceful trust and faith that all was well and would be well. Maybe those two things sound contradictory or mutually exclusive. It's always seemed strange to me, as well, that the two feelings about the universe and my place in it could coexist, but as I recall, they just did.
I hope that my children might have even less anxiety and even more happiness--but I know it will be some kind of mixture of the two. Anyway, I will do my best.
Every person who comes into the world is a glorious gift and for the few that I'll have the honor of parenting, I just want to give the very best chance I can offer them at realizing their potential. It's what my parents did for me, for which I am genuinely grateful, and I'd like to pass on the favor to the next generation.