There are some things about becoming a mother that nobody ever tells you, and I’m not talking about how funky your bottom is for a while after giving birth or that your newborn will probably cry so hard at some point it will briefly not make a sound or that some day that same baby – with whom you spent countless hours up in the middle of the night trying to console – will tell you it hates you. Guaranteed.
No, those are the little tidbits you don’t even consider when you are pregnant with your first child and fantasizing about all the fun things you’d do together some day like visiting museums and joining up for mother-daughter yoga classes.
It’s not fucking happening.
No, the most critical piece of information that anyone who’s gone down that parenting road ahead of you has neglected to mention is that it never stops. There is no end to the job.
Which is funny, because I was under the impression when I took the position that it would be about an 18-year assignment.
You kept all of their fingers and toes in check, fed them the occasional vegetable and made sure they could read and they’d eventually go off to college and you’d get back to whatever it was you were doing before they arrived on the scene.
What I’d like to travel around the country and tell expectant parents is that they are signing up for a life sentence. Once that little sucker pops out into the bright light of day, there would be no turning back.
You are in it for the long haul.
(Someone should actually put that as a warning label on a box of condoms. Like how Trident used to use the “4 out of 5 dentists agree” line: “Four out of five parents agree that they should have used a condom.”)
I’m being reminded of this lifetime commitment this week as I watch one of my kids struggle with rejection and feel helpless, unable to make anything better. I keep going over in my mind what more I could have done, something I could have said that would have altered the course of events.
Because of course as parents we want to make the road of life less bumpy for our children. That’s why we cut their steak for them long past the point that they can manage a knife themselves or let them go into school a little late when they’re feeling needy or hand them a $20 bill for gas instead of making them dip into their own limited funds.
We want to shield them from life’s challenges, the many disappointments.
And when they do grow up some day and start making their way out into the world, you’re still connected. It’s like this thin filament that stretches as far as they go but is anchored to your heart. And when they feel pain and sorrow, you feel the zap of sadness, too.
No one told me how much I’d love them and that – even though they’d fly off and start their own lives – they’d always be my babies.
So, when I wasn’t fretting about one of my many children this week, I did have this to say:
The day my husband of 18 years moved out of our house for good, the mirror that had been hanging quietly over our bathroom sink slipped from its nail and crashed onto the floor below.
I had been out of the house while he packed the last of his ties and running shoes, and hadn’t been home long after he left when I heard a thud overhead and the sound of breaking glass. (READ MORE … )
Looking for a sure-fire way to drop 5 to 10 pounds fast?
Forget what you read in all the magazines or the ads you see on TV.
My advice is to get a divorce. (READ MORE … )
Anyone who has seen the Hungtington Learning Center commercial on TV — “Face it! I’m not getting into college!” – has had the pleasure of hearing a dramatic scene taken from the pages of my own life. (READ MORE … )
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