Suddenly I find myself at the edge of parenthood and cannot fathom how I got here. Baby showers and baptisms are beginning to fill up my calendar at an equal rate with graduation parties and weddings, and I’m not quite sure where I am in life. I reach down to my barely growing belly and it all still feels so surreal, magical, and downright terrifying.
It seemed such a short while ago that I would walk home from school with my Barbie backpack in my corduroy jumper to eagerly munch on Dunkaroos. Certainly yesterday I was muddling through debt, finals, and holding my rusted Chrysler together with duct tape. One of you told me the other day, “You have it all together. A husband, a house, and now a baby.” While your examples are true, I certainly do not have it all together. Each day my to-do list grows, my fears amplify, and I feel so small in my big girl shoes.
The truth of the matter is; no one has it all together. No one confidently steps into adulthood, and certainly not into parenthood. Some have parenthood thrust upon them, but those of us that seek and pray for it are hardly better prepared. I watched my husband shove an entire cupcake into his mouth the other day and thought, “Dear Lord, he is going to be a parent?” Then I spilled milk down my shirt and thought, “Dear Lord, I am going to be a parent?” Believe me, we have our more promising moments, but at no point have I ever thought that I am completely prepared to be entrusted with another human’s well-being. How could I be?
Deciding to seek parenthood isn’t a logical decision. It’s a decision of heart. You ask how I can have confidence that it will all be okay or that I can give my children everything they need. Honestly, I can’t. I worry everyday about providing for my children and hoping desperately that I provide better than what I had. I worry about the state of our economy, our culture, and our world in general. At moments I even feel regret creeping in my mind and deep sorrow for the lives my children may face.
Then I see a baby in the store and hear a child giggle in church and I remember why I am called to do this. Each little life is an absolute gift and whether you believe in a higher power or see life as a giant coincidence, it is tough denying the potential in each little human’s life. I will ruin my children in one way or another. I will just have to try and get through it well enough to ruin them as little as possible.
Why will I ruin them? I am not perfect and neither is my husband. We will do our very best for our children and make mistakes, because we are not one hundred percent ready and never could be. I taught at a childcare center for two and a half years and was learning new and better ways to help children develop all the time. Every time I felt fully prepared for a situation, those munchkins would prove me wrong. I can’t imagine parenting will be any easier or more concrete than that experience was. In fact, I would bet dollars to donuts that it is even more fluid and confusing. It is all our best guessing game. No one is ready to parent, they just muddle through it.
I think that is what we are all doing in life; muddling through. We did it through our first jobs, college, renting our first apartment, and the first time we filed taxes. No one really knows what they’re doing, they just get better with practice. All you can do it try your best.
If you want to envy me and dream of having it “together enough” for your own little ones, go ahead. I’ll envy your freedom and limitless opportunities to make whatever you want out of life. At the end of the day, I feel we’re all on our path for the greater good. We are all helping the next generation in a different way. Right now you’re trying to navigate the world a little more for them and I’ll try to teach them how to tie their shoes.