I did these things because I am, by nature, a planner, but also because I believed that having a baby was kind of like entering a wild, uncharted frontier. No matter how much planning or gear I took with me, there was no way for me to be prepared for what lay ahead. It wasn't even the blind leading the blind; it was just me and my husband, blind and alone, and there would be no going back. Ever.
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Other parents saying things like "Just you wait..." added to this feeling that I had no idea what I was getting into. Yes, I knew that sleep was about to become a precious commodity. Yes, I knew that my life was "going to change." Yes, I knew that there would diapers and fevers and tantrums. But, of course, I couldn't really know.
It was all very ominous. I felt that I had to temper any excitement with "But of course, it's probably going to be awful" so no one would think I was being unrealistic. But you know what? In retrospect I can see how unrealistic I actually was.
Because it wasn't awful. It isn't awful. All the reading and researching and purchases did help. Sure, there have been surprises. I'm going to be honest, there were also some really dark moments (I hope to share more about this at a later time). I thought it would be challenging, and it was. But through it all, I was prepared"
- When the first fever happened, I was frightened, but I also had baby acetaminophen in the drawer.
- When sleep wasn't happening, I was exhausted, but I also improvised and dug in and survived.
- When the first signs of post-partum depression crept in, I felt hopeless, but I also remembered what I had read and started treating it like the monster it is.
All that being said, though, there is one thing I was truly not prepared for. I had heard parents go on and on about the love for their children. Oh, the love! I was not prepared for the magnitude of the love that would grow in my heart a little more every day.
But I was least prepared for how much I would like my kids. Truly. They are a blast to hang out with. Every moment isn't sunshine and unicorns, but I genuinely enjoy spending my waking hours with them, and this gets stronger as they get older. My son is almost two. He is hilarious and innovative and cautious. Saul is slowly learning to talk, and I cannot wait to have conversations with him (and somewhere out there, a parent is saying "Just you wait... soon he won't shut up" and I don't care). And now that little boy has a little sister. I can't wrap my mind around it all.
Think you're prepared for the blessings that await you? Just you wait...