I watched her little girl running around our living room while I held my newborn, so still. She grabbed for everything I had on the coffee table. And tried to eat it. She hit her head on a piece of furniture when she fell. Her mom followed behind her, sometimes getting ahead of the action just in time to avoid disaster. She never sat down (neither of them). In the first five minutes, I found out that my living room was far from baby-proof AND that I never wanted my newborn to grow up. I would never be ready.
It was The New Baby Visit. The first of my close friends to have a child had come to my house with her one year-old. Her daughter is a year and two days older than mine. She was suddenly GIGANTIC compared to my little one and she moved so FAST. I was barely handling my 10 day-old motherhood status. And I was still sitting down. How was I ever going to handle ALL of THAT?
We didn’t wind up having much of a conversation that day because BABIES, but something she said to me still reverberates.
I started to doubt myself (jump ahead a year in my mind and start to panic because I had no idea what I was doing) out loud. She said, “You’re only ready for where you are. When you get here, you’ll be ready.”
She probably didn’t even realize it was going to be so helpful to me on so many days in so many ways. I’ve even pulled it out as advice/encouragement to others (mothers, colleagues, friends…) because it saves me from needless over-worrying.
Dude. Nobody likes needless worrying.
“How am I gonna….?”
“When will she…?”
You’re only ready for where you are.
My newborn is almost six now. If I had to answer questions about where she’d go to elementary school or had to figure out the best methods of discipline for different personality types when she was only ten days old I would have waved a white flag. And vomited. And gone straight to bed mumbling something about “quitting.” Luckily, I learned as she learned. I’m challenged to stay one step ahead as the responsibilities of motherhood change. I prepare for the next step, not the next twenty. I’m not against planning or looking toward the future with some direction but I try to avoid focusing so far ahead that you lose sight of the things you can control or what is going on now that may change that path down the way. Sometimes I like narrowing my focus. It’s permission to take pride in the little victories.
And that little boy in the photo up top? That’s my second one. The picture was taken shortly after I spotted him with the uncapped marker, marks on the table and on his face…
“Did you write on your face?”
I may never be ready for that one…