Who here panicked upon arriving home with their first child? I know I did. As soon as we strapped that kid into her carseat, my first thought was, “wait, how did these doctors and nurses just let us leave the hospital with this person?” Seriously.
The most experience I had was babysitting a couple of little boys when I was 12. And I wasn’t very good at it, either. Most times I played the parent’s Styx album (too too too too much time on my hands…) until there were grooves in the grooves. I talked incessantly on the phone to my girlfriends and told the boys to go play amongst themselves. One time one of the kids came home from school with poopy-pants and I took his unders and hid them behind the winter coats in the hall closet. I’m not sure I really earned that dollar an hour.
Think about what it takes to raise a person. Just think about it. It’s a battle of some sort for every single phase of this kid’s life. These guys come out of our bodies not knowing a single thing. They can’t even lift their heads, for God’s sake. We are responsible for making sure they don’t starve to death, or suffocate or freeze. We have to know what every single cry means. I remember when I figured it out. I felt like I had won the lottery. I even called DH at work to tell him the good news.
And it continues. One thing after another. Throw up, pneumonia, temper tantrums, broken bones, broken hearts. Those stupid questions (where do babies come from, why is the world round, why do cows moo?). Damn. No wonder we stopped at one. This is some hard business. Seriously, I think people should have to get a degree in parenting before they can parent. Or at the very least, send us home with an owner’s manual. I really could have benefited from an owner’s manual.
But through it all, we have to somehow manage to make sure these little people grow up to be respectable, responsible, kind, semi-intelligent, hard working adults. You know, good people. People who other people can stand. Who other people will like. I’m not even sure I’m always responsible, respectable and semi-intelligent myself. How the hell am I supposed to teach a whole other person how to be those things? From freaking scratch? It’s not like they ever got a crash course somewhere on what to expect before they came to us. Geez.
Now we are on to the next stage. Boys, and driving, and parties with alcohol. Then college in the next blink. The fear that we did the right thing by her. That she isn’t spoiled beyond belief and will indeed be able to boil a pot of water or purchase her own bottle of shampoo. Will she be able to find her way out of a paper bag? Will she heed our warning about not leaving her drink for even a minute? Will she be wise about choosing a partner? You know, for life. Oh Lord. Here we go. Give us strength.
Would I do it again? You betcha. Because with all the sleepless nights, the worry, the pain, there is so much joy and love. Joy and love that goes above and beyond all else. Still. I’m kinda glad we stopped at one. That’s some scary crap. This raising a person business.