We didn't know what the hell we were doing when they told us to leave Methodist Hospital with two babies 23 years ago. Winging it, is what we do as parents. For good or ill, they come fully loaded with their own tendencies and talents. If you get lucky, it can sometimes be very hard to screw up and if you get a challenge, it is not always (mostly not) your fault. If you are reading this, you really care about doing a good job. Trying your damnedest is the best job that you can do. You can't engineer perfection and if you try - get ready for disappointment. The thing is, disappointment is a great place to start.
Preparing your child, for the bumps in the road and the wildly irregular people who will interact with them is the best job you can do. You learn more from the mistakes than the successes. Our job is not to make them happy but to prepare them to survive and beyond that, elevate the future of the human race. Helping your child develop grit along with kindness and empathy should be your mission. Modeling curiosity and mindfulness and fortitude should be your way of life. When they are cute and soft and smell good is when they will poop and throw up on you. When they are bony and smell funny and tell you that you are stupid is when they need you the most. The job description sucks but there are rewards.
I am sure that in the new year, there will be plenty of disappointment to go around. Think of it as a blessing (because frankly, you have no other choice). When we are disappointed, we get to show what we are really made of. Be the best you can be when it isn't easy.
In the new year, I hope all of you get the placements that you want, but when you get the placements that you need, remember to be thankful for the unintended gifts and the challenges. There will be new friends, and thoughtful hard working and inspirational teachers, and new curiosities, and new skills.
Good luck and when luck isn't with you - courage, which is better.