Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hope in Buckets and Bushels


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.

short pause

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?

Eric: 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.


Amanda said...

I had some worries about parenthood, too. It is something you always dream and hope for but then when it comes it is kind of scary.

I agree with Eric - you guys will do fine. Heavenly Father sends us little babies that literally don't know anything (other than how to suck and sleep and poop) so that we have time to figure things out... before they realize we didn't know much.

Jeri said...

If Amanda has it figured out - she needs to send out the cliff notes - I'm still totally lost! And I'll be honest, there are moments when I'll look at Tim and say tings like, "Remember when we could go out to dinner without it being a major headache and ordeal?" Or "Remember the days when we could actually watch a movie without being interrupted 50 million times for this that and the other..." There are times when I think I must have been INSANE to think I could do this mothering thing, (More frequent when I am depressed or in a heightened state of anxiety) and I ALMOST wish I wasn't a mother. But don't fret, the feeling passes almost instantly - with the next slobbery kiss or childish giggle, or funny saying, etc... Being a mother is hard. But like you, I am blessed with a calming influence in my sweet husband, and you will totally rock at this motherhood thing. I'm just dying to read a future post about the day you teach your kids to crouch in a stairwell in the garage when you think a tornado is about to hit, and the one where you teach your daughter all about broiling frosting:)

Your little princess is one lucky little girl to be coming to your family.

Brandon said...

I'm not going to lie to you. The first night home with our first was a little, for lack of a better word, "devastating" for me, but it got much better after that. It is a huge change, but it will be wonderful.

Jake said...

That conversation sounds eerily similar to one I had with Melissa just the other day and this is the 4th one. Apparently whn you forget how bad pregnancy is you also forget how being a mother to a newborn just kind of comes.

Ryan + Angie said...

I think it is a pregnancy thing...the fear of the unknown. When the babies arrive it is more known but really only a little less scary. Still it is great. Everyday as they learn new things my eyes are opened to the possibilities and of course the laughs and there is nothing better than the request, "Hold me Mama."

Harmony said...

You will do fine, better than most I'll wager. Just remember, "Charlotte is the best...mother!" (Or will be anyway. :-)

Bamamoma said...

I love Jeri's post. I love how real it is. There are moments (but they really are only moments). You are great at giving and showing love. You are creative. You are generous. You are responsible. You are intelligent. You have a great sense of humor and the ability to see the fun and funny in many of life's difficult or awkward moments (this will serve you well!). You have a great partner in all of this. You are really good at praying (a huge plus!). In essence, you will be a great mom (even with the moments) and I, like Jeri, look forward to hearing all about it!

I can't wait to hear all the adorable things that Christy Julien (whom I like to call CJ) does and (eventually) says. I will be constantly available (especially in the tween/teen years) to remind her how fabulously fortunate she is to have YOU for her mommy.

Can't wait to see you in a week! I'm looking forward to seeing (but not touching) that bump.

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