When I first found out I was expecting a baby I was thrilled and awed by our ability to create another person to join our little family. We were launching on a new adventure but oddly enough one fraught with concern, laced with excitement, accompanied by incredible joy and a new subject to study.
I'm not the type of person who can just launch into anything new without knowing everything I can about it first. Back in the day, the day being roughly May 1983, that meant checking books out of a library or visiting a small local bookstore as big box book stores didn't exist yet. You can't imagine how much I love Google but that's for another post.
My mother had lost babies so I was nervous I would disappoint more than just my husband and I if I miscarried, so we waited three months to tell the world. In that time we went to lunch with my mother-in-law, who was almost sad we didn't have to get married three years earlier, and told her we'd decided not to have children. She took it well and didn't say much. On my husbands birthday we told her with a shirt that he opened and held up saying, "I think this belongs to Lori, not me." The screaming that ensued was both ridiculous and fantastic.
Please ignore the hair and glasses in this picture of my MIL happily embracing me with the words, "Under Construction" and an arrow pointing down on my shirt. Thankfully she forgave us for telling her a bald faced lie a few weeks before.
So as I read about becoming a mother and people eventually found out, slowly but surely, I was graced with expert advice from all directions. I'm not a negative person but I am realistic and I knew that this would change our lives forever. While I couldn't wait for this little person to arrive, I also began thinking days, months, years, decades ahead to what life would bring as a result of this person joining our fold starting with simple but important things like would I have horrible stretch marks or could I ever wear a bikini again?
It's hard to describe how a parent feels unless you actually are one. I remember clearly the first time they carried him into my hospital room after a brief time apart when he was accompanied by his new dad, I held him and instantly understood that whatever happens to him therefore happens to me. I felt Vulnerable. Scared. Thrilled. Joyful. Terrified. and still do.
I have been a mother for 30 years as of February 10, 2014. What a privilege that we again get to celebrate that day with our son Alex. The things we wonder as parents getting to this point is not only universal but borders on crazy I'm sure. For example:
Will he ever sleep through the night? EVER?
Will he ever take a binky?
Will he ever stop taking a binky?
Will we ever get tired of looking at him and adoring his very being?
Will there ever be a smarter, cuter, more adorable baby on earth?
These concerns turn into:
Will he walk when all the cool kids do?
Will he start talking and be super smart like we think he is?
Will he ever learn social skills that don't involve pushing his friends?
Will he graduate from Kindergarten without a police record?
Will I ever stop asking these ridiculous questions and imagining a future that doesn't include jail?
Which morphs into:
Will he make friends at school, despite the fact he's as smart as we knew he was?
Will he ever make a basket when he plays basketball and if he doesn't how do we deal with that?
Will he ever eat what we are eating and grow as tall as his dad?
Will he ever pick up his clothes on the floor without being reminded?
Will he ever NOT be the most adorable person we know and love?
Which develops into:
Will someone break his heart and we'll have to watch without falling apart ourselves?
Will he ever get tired of his siblings and lose his patience?
Will he ever bring home a stray exchange student from Spain and ask to have him live with us?
Will he ever be offered alcohol or drugs and make the choices we hope he does?
Will he get a job he likes and learn to drive himself places?
When he drives away will he ever come back?
Which leads to:
Will he go to college and know what to do, how to do it and do it well?
Will he need more coaching as time draws near for him to leave or did we do our job?
Will he ever want to come home again or is our work here done and he moves on?
Will he ever understand how much joy he brings to our lives and how hard it is to let go?
Which somehow, someway leads to:
Will he ever stop being a person of interest in our lives?
Will he know that we are incredibly proud of who he's become?
Will we ever want anything less than the best for him?
Will he find love & a family of his own so he too can enjoy the joys & pains of parenthood?
Will I ever stop wondering how his life will unfold?
I have to admit that most of these questions occurred long before he arrived. I am proudly a one day at a time person as long as you allow me to sojourn into the big picture so I feel prepared for what might come.
Nothing, and I mean nothing could have prepared me for parenthood the way one day at a time did with this gift we named Alex. Because no matter how many questions we have about the future there really isn't anything as cool and satisfying as the present and the possibilities the future holds for our children.
Hearing his dreams, helping those dreams come true and in the meantime realizing our own dreams for him has been a journey of pride, excitement, heartache and incredible joy.
Will I ever NOT feel vulnerable? The books didn't talk about that.
When my mother who is 82 recently called and asked if I'd heard yet from my sisters (one of them is a grandmother herself) who were travelling together I replied, "Are you telling me this never stops? We never stop worrying about them?" A simple "No" said it all.
I'm not worried about him cause he's got this. He will and is fine and I am so lucky to be celebrating with him on his 30th year. I am looking forward to 30+ more and living one day at a time watching his life unfold, cheering him on, sharing in his joys, successes, loss, gains and all that comes with living life to the fullest. I can't wait to see what happens and to be a part of it.
Will I ever stop wondering about my firstborn?
Answer: He fills me with wonder and joy, so no, not if I can help it. Happy Birthday Sweetheart