THIS IS PARENTING
I know. It looks kinda cute. Kinda frightening. Kinda woah. And yes I know, kinda isn’t really a word. But this is parenting. And it’s kinda weird.
The thing that books don’t tell you, nor do your parents, or your friends or your boyfriends, lovers or future husbands, is that this is parenting. It’s illuminated by irony, random acts of kindness by strangers and an uncanny amount of moments worthy of cinematic entertainment like that of a Disney movie like say, Bambi.
Emphasis on moments. Parenting is all just a bunch of moments. From the moment you pee on a stick, or become a step parent, or adopt a child at 2, your life unfolds moment after moment after moment. And it becomes a reel. In real time. And sometimes it’s utterly effervescent, and sometimes it’s just shit. If you’re a parent, you’ll concur.
I remember the day I found out I was going to be a parent. Everything was surreal. That moment, my physical body became out of body. I looked at my husband and it was real. Like, really real. And everything before that had a life of it’s own.
Like, the life before. You know, like freedom? Like no real responsibility. Like, running down a mountain in skis and getting to the bottom only to take your skis off, walk up to the lodge, have a baileys and coffee and go nap for 3 hours. Have you ever seen a family of young ones take their kids skiing? It’s a nightmare. Like it takes 9 hours to just get dressed and then they cry all the way up the ski lift. Or so I’ve heard.
Life before parenting was another life.
And now, this is parenting.
It’s ok, you’re pregnant and you’ve heard weird stories. Believe them all friend. All of them. Pregnancy is weird and childbirth is even weirder. It’s ok to laugh and it’s to cry. It’s ok to stand postpartum in your bathroom mirror and see your body after it’s become a mother and scream out loud, “what in the fuck just happened?” It’s ok. It’s very ok. We’re all here with you, confused. In fact, I’m currently sucking in my tummy while I type, in an attempt to tone my untoned twin belly pooch that needs all the help. I’m also eating chocolate simultaneously. Don’t judge. This is a skill set and you should be proud.
THE FIRST MONTH
If you’ve asked your husband for a divorce, it’s ok. This is parenting. Your hormones are out of control and so is that baby screaming in your arms and by the way, why are my nipples bleeding? TMI. Sorry, but this is all par for the course. It gets better. But beware, the first month might be harder than 9 months of pregnancy. And nothing anyone says or does makes it cute or poetic or cinematic. No one. Except for the moments your infant does not cry and rather stares you in the face and smiles like she’s home. Yep. She smiles like she's home. The only way to explain that better is that in that moment your heart rips out of your chest in the most beautiful, inexplicable way. Prepare to cry. God was smart about that one.
THE TERRIBLE TODDLER
He’s not so terrible I guess. But he’s breaking my back and he won’t stop. He thinks it’s funny to run away in socks into the backyard before pre-school. Yes, he thinks it’s funny. He then proceeds to sit down and take a dump in the wet grass because it’s ultra convenient to shit in a field after mommy just changed you and your twin brother out of pajamas and into clean pre-school clothes. Because now mommy has to change not only your socks, but your diaper and your pants too. Meanwhile your twin brother decided to ride his tricycle down the driveway almost into the street. Yep. Also, spilling a pound of sugar in the pantry before mommy’s had a sip of coffee is super sweet. He’s learning to say “I love you” though. So, that’s nice.
THE 6 GOING ON 16
Not sure I can say this nicely, but the teenage years are gonna suck. I can already tell. Attitude from a 6 year old going on 16 and I’m pretty sure I’ll need a cold martini every day starting at 5 pm when we hit the high school years. Shaken, not stirred. And extra dirty. Because, I’m nervous. But here’s the deal. 6 is special. And although she’s an original and she’s already got more shoes than her mama, she’s magnetic. And joyous. And her beautiful heart matches her wild spirit. And I joke now that 16 might suck, and it might, but truthfully, the moments of now with her in elementary school and experimenting with everything from ballet to gymnastics to tennis, to learning every Disney lyric upon first listen in the car ride home from school, I’m 100% positive that these moments are the gold. These are the days I’ll want back in a heartbeat. I just cried.
BECOMING GOOD HUMANS
This is parenting. The real journey and the real results of your trying and trying and trying for a baby, to not getting pregnant, to losing a baby, to losing an adoption, to finally being able to care for a real child. Your responsibility is enormous. And I can laugh, but I’ll keep crying because I’m hormonal, but the truth lies in your commitment to loving this child unconditionally forever. Like you're actually shaping his or her life, and how they become good humans. And all the while you’re learning the totally insane curve of parenting, and probably sucking at it, you’ll also be having moments of utter greatness. Sheer bliss. You’ll look at your child one day and know, you’ve done it. You’ve succeeded in this whole parenting phenomenon. And it might be in the middle of the night after you’ve breastfed through the soreness and she’s finally latched on and she falls asleep mid smile and you’ll gasp at her beauty and her realness. And it may be while watching your 12 year old receive honors for his tremendous efforts in his academics and you’ll cry with pride. Or it may be your daughter fighting hard and harder at understanding that damn stupid math that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, but once she nails it, you’ll look at your partner beaming with joy knowing that your child truthfully believes that anything is possible if you work for it. And if you have faith.
This is parenting. And sometimes it makes a world of sense, and sometimes it breaks your heart into a million pieces. It’s fascinating. Like I’ve said before, parenting is the craziest conundrum of all. And moment for moment, you wouldn’t trade it. Never. Because God made you a parent and isn’t that the most beautiful, most profound concept on earth.
I think so. Here’s to us.