Today I heard two similar, interesting comments from two different mothers - that they didn't really feel like parents until a particular parental milestone was reached. For one, it was her son becoming mobile (and therefore requiring a lot more supervision and interaction), and for the other, it was the birth of her second child. This made me think that perhaps I haven't reached that milestone with S yet. Although Chris and my lives have certainly changed since she came into the world in terms of daily activities, priorities, long term goals, etc., and I spend a lot of time thinking and (obviously) writing about parenthood, I'm not sure it's really, fully kicked in yet. Perhaps this is because we still have a lot of "us time" as she naps a lot and is generally in good spirits when she's awake. Perhaps it's because her needs are relatively simple at this point which affords us a sense of control. Perhaps it's because she's only been with us for two months - a tiny fraction of the time the two of us have been on this earth.
So when will it fully "kick in" for us? As Chris pointed out, it could be anything - a first soccer goal, a first serious illness. Or heck, it could be when the last child has left home for university and our empty nest reminds us of what used to be. Who knows? That said, having spent the lunch hour with a 9 1/2 month old and the evening with two infants and two toddlers, I do feel that the most demanding aspects of parenthood are certainly still to come - but the most rewarding ones as well. :)