The concept of marriage has changed over the years, the definition has not. When interviewing Dante (sr. ) and Joanne Zarlenga, both had much to say on the topic. Dante, a retired engineer, navy man, and company owner, said “I feel as though the sanctity of marriage has diminished over the years. ” With this being said, the definition of marriage is the formal union of two persons, recognized by the law and oftentimes the church. The concept of marriage has radically changed. In the days when Dante and Joanne were married, 60+ years ago, marriage was the ultimate form of commitment, meant to last a lifetime.
In today’s society, marriage is simply another level of commitment, ready to be terminated at one’s wish. Parenthood is often considered the most difficult journey in the life of a person. When one becomes a parent, whether or not it is within marriage, he/she becomes responsible for the life of another. Joanne said, in a humorous way, “I think the most difficult aspect of parenthood is giving birth….. your father might have been the most painful. ” Dante then interrupted by saying, “there are many ups and downs about parenthood, but a good parent never quits.”
These are words to live by. The sheer concept of being responsible for the life of another person is difficult and often terrifying, but watching that child blossom that makes parenthood so fulfilling and rewarding. By anyone’s standards, there are many rewarding aspects of parenthood. As Joanne stated, “it’s hard to pinpoint one moment of parenthood that has been the ‘most’ rewarding. ” She continued by saying, “from the moment my first child was born to the moment I take my last breathe, that is the most rewarding part of parenthood. ” This statement says so much.
Joanne is simply stating that every aspect of parenthood is rewarding, not just one particular moment. “There are so many things to be proud of my children for. They’ve all grown into such wonderful adults,” said Dante. It is parents like Joanne and Dante who prove that even difficult task can be rewarding. As everyone knows, becoming a parent changes every aspect of one’s life, especially personal and work. When Dante and Joanne had their first child, Joanne missed a lot of work. She was the type of mother who wanted to be there to raise her child instead of hiring a nanny to do it for her.
Because she was taking so much time off work, Dante began to work longer days to compensate for the lack of a second income. Like all parents, Dante and Joanne did what they could to create a comfortable life for their children. The change of parenthood was “a breath of fresh air,” said Dante. “It was nice to know I was capable of more than creating parts or taking orders,” he continued. Parenthood is not for everyone because of the changes that occur in one’s own life. As far as changing the past, both Dante and Joanne agreed that although they might not have been perfect parents, there was nothing they would do to rewrite history.
Whatever their means of parenting, it must have worked because they raise four children into four successful adults. There are so many things parents-to-be should know. As stated by Dante, “the one thing I wish I would have known prior to becoming a parent is just how hard parenthood is. ” There is not one single piece of advice the Zarlengas would give because there are so many lessons better learned through experience. “The one thing I will tell anybody considering becoming a parent, be ready to give your life for someone else,” said Joanne.
Parenting and grandparenting are separated by a generation. Grandparenting comes in many different forms. Some grandparents co-raise their grandchildren, some just babysit occasionally or when they are needed. “There is only one wrong form of grandparenting, trying to raise grandchildren as your own,” said Dante. Oftentimes grandparents used grandchildren as a way to correct there mistakes when they raised their own children. As said by Joanne, “grandparenting is like a second chance at parenting. It is also the best way to share the wealth of knowledge with my children.”
She acknowledges that there are certain lines not to be crossed by a grandparent. Throughout the many stages of parenthood, there are many challenges to be faced and many rewards to be reaped. In the eyes of Joanne, one of the hardest parts of parenthood is not knowing how to calm your child down as a new parent. “there were nights when Joe(the oldest) wouldn’t stop crying and it killed me inside because there wasn’t anything I could do about it,” said Joanne. Dante agreed adding, “it was difficult when the kids were learning things that I could no longer help them with. I felt incompetent.”
Both agreed that the most rewarding part of parenthood is looking at who their children have become and the wonderful things they have accomplished. After interviewing Dante and Joanne Zarlenga, my grandparents, I felt a sense of hope for the future. I realized that there are many things to look forward to in the future. There was nothing that I was too surprised by. Getting married and raising a family is one of the most challenging endeavors, but the rewards are unmatched by anything else. There are many aspects I would deem necessary to be a good parent. One of the main qualities would be patience.
I can only imagine the difficulty of raising a child and then letting him go. I often feel that being a parent, in certain ways, is similar to being a manager of a big corporation. Both involved a great deal of responsibility to be accountable for other people’s lives. I know my grandparents very well and know that their children are their pride and joy and their grandchildren are a close second. They would do anything for anyone in their family and not expect anything in return. The Zarlengas are truly selfless which makes them the best type of parent and grandparent.