Maybe there is no exact moment in time, maybe there is not a list of experiences that can define being a parent. Can the dictionary help? If you ask me, I have heard of people that have children that I would not really consider to be a parent. I have heard of people who do not have children that maybe I would consider to be a parent. Common theme above, “have children”.
One way to look at this is in the purest technical sense there is, something I am very comfortable with. I just wanted to look up the word parent, but you will notice that I had to look up several words because the dictionary uses words that are too big for me so I had to learn what they mean too, begets and progeny. Then they started defining words circularly so I guess that means it's time to stop with the dictionary. Progeny = Offspring, Offspring = Progeny, thanks dictionary.
Parent - 1. One that begets or brings forth offspring. 2. One that brings up or cares for another.
Beget - To become the father of.
Offspring - Progeny, Young
Progeny - Offspring, children, descendants
Descendant - Proceeding from an ancestor or source
So, to be a parent is to become the father of. Hmmmm, not a lot of help there although we could start a whole new series about whether there is a difference between a male parent and a father, maybe I am one and not the other. Or, To be a parent is to bring up, or care for another. No real clarity here either. Did I become a father? I don't know. Did I meet the criteria? Is there criteria? Did I care for another? Yes, I most certainly cared for Jennifer. I care for her everyday, and have for a very long time. But I cared for her differently during the pregnancies. It wasn't that my actions were really different or that I did anything I wouldn't have otherwise, but I felt different. For example, I felt more discomfort and more concern when she would vomit, it never really bothered me much during regular illness, and I felt more excitement and anticipation when I watched her happiness, or when I saw that pregnancy glow. I've always heard about the glow, but never really saw it until it was Jennifer that was pregnant. But then again, I miss a lot of things because I'm not very aware of my surroundings. So were these changes in my feelings a different kind of or increased caring for Jennifer, or was I caring for BB and Little Burns/Autumn? If I was caring for them, then perhaps this is the first notion that I could be a parent.