LAST FRIDAY MORNING
Scene: The kitchen. Charlotte is at the table in the breakfast nook, eating her Lucky Charms. Eric is at the sink, wolfing down his granola bar and chocolate milk. (I can hear you now . . . "Lucky Charms and Chocolate Milk? You've got to be kidding me!" Nope, I'm not kidding you. I've loved Lucky Charms ever since I was six years old, and so every 2-3 months, I buy a box and live large for about two weeks . As to chocolate milk, that's an Eric thing. You'll have to ask him about it yourself.)
Charlotte (addressing herself to Eric's back): Hey, Eric?
Eric (Hasn't woken up all the way quite yet. It generally takes Eric an hour or so in the morning before he's fully alert and ready for the adventures of the day): Hmmm?
Charlotte (tentatively): Do you personally know anyone who has kids and wishes that they didn't?
pause while Eric reflects on this question.
Eric (reflectively): Actually . . . no, I don't.
Charlotte: Huh. Me either.
Charlotte (still tentatively, but less so than before): And we know a lot of people with kids, don't we?
Eric: Heck, yes!
Charlotte: So, we'll probably be just fine, huh?
Eric (walks over to Charlotte and gives her a nice, comforting hug): What? You're nervous about it? We're going to be fine.
Charlotte (rushing her words together a bit): Well, yeah, I am a little nervous about it. It's a big change you know? I mean, I just don't know that we're ready, but I don't think we'll ever be ready until it happens, and anyway, it's like, ready or not, here she comes. You know?
Eric: Yeah, I know what you mean. But, we'll be fine. Shoot, even ______,* my friend, loves having kids. He says parenting is easy.
Charlotte (wondering what _______'s wife would say about the ease of parenting, but feels better all the same): Right. Okay. We'll be fine. It will all work out, and it will be great. Right?
Having finished breakfast, Charlotte walks Eric to the door and he leaves for work. Charlotte will leave for work about 10 minutes later.
So, maybe it's pregnancy hormones, but I've been a little roller coaster-y about this whole parenthood business lately. Some days I wake up really nervous and concerned about Eric's and my ability to care for and raise a baby/child/tween/teenager/etc. Other days I feel our little girl moving around in there and I think about having a baby to sing to, a little girl to tell bedtime stories to, a grade school-er to help with homework, a teenager to console by telling her the stories of the many times I ran the car into the mailbox when I was a teenager, and even more thoughts than I can really take the time to write here. I get really excited at those times, and I can hardly wait for it all to start.
But most days, I'm somewhere in the middle there. I'm mostly trying to enjoy the days that I have, as I have them. I learned (I hope) during the 14-16 years that I was "of marriageable age" (read: ages 20-22 through age 36) and still unmarried, that it doesn't really work for me to fix my happiness on a set point in the future. Rather, I do best when I rejoice in my life as it passes, day by day. So, that's what I'm doing. I'm striving to ignore the leg cramps and the heartburn, and especially the nagging fears that my life is about to change forever and I may never get a good night's sleep again until I die, and what if I go crazy because of all of it.
Instead, I'm striving to rejoice in the feeling of that squirmy little girl inside me, and how kind and understanding (most) people have been to me ever since my belly started to poke out in that unmistakable pregnant way, and to remember how surprised I was at how much I loved becoming (and continuing to be) an aunt, and so I'll probably be surprised at how much I will love being a mother.
And it goes well. Some days though, I get a case of the worries. That's when I ask my Eric to reassure me. He must get tired of it at times. So far though, he's always come through with the exactly right answer at that exactly right time.
That in and of itself gives me hope and reassurance in buckets and bushels.
*Don't even bother trying to guess who this friend is. He's actually really more of an acquaintance than a friend. Anyway, I'm quite certain that no one who reads this blog or ever will read this blog has ever or will ever meet this guy. I haven't even met him myself.