Don’t Worry, Your Worry will get Bigger
I recall obsessively wondering from where my children would come when I was facing infertility. The nights were almost unbearable because I would lie in bed and try to conjure up ways to convince others to put me at the very top of any/all lists that would guarantee my chances of becoming a mother.
Today, I am giving you an assignment that will enable you to be the best parent you can be once your children arrive.
Last night when I was putting our 4.5 year old to bed, he began inquiring about fire safety. He asked what would happen if a fire ever broke out in our house. He wondered how he would get out of his room at night, if the fire were between he and his door. I assured him that mommy and daddy were right down the hall and that we would protect him. In my head I kept chanting/praying, “Lord, please don’t let there ever be a fire in our house—or at least not when any of us are home!”
Then I reminded him that the fire alarm was right outside his door and that it would make a sound if it detected any fire or even smoke. In hindsight, that was probably a mistake because that new knowledge actually provoked more anxiety in him. He doesn’t like loud buzzing noises. I have a sticky note on our dryer buzzer that says, “Make sure this is OFF at all times” The first night we moved into this house, it sounded right after he fell asleep and sent him into a major tailspin.
As we went through about 43 fire safety and escape route scenarios, I thought to myself, “I don’t recall ever laying in bed and wondering about this particular subject matter when I was waiting for you or your brothers to be born.” When we were adopting and going through the egg donor processes, we met with a myriad of professionals who prepared us for the physical, financial and emotional challenges we would face as parents but nobody ever prepped me for this particular event.
Once a person crosses the parental threshold, sex and drug conversations are to be expected; in fact, the first time I held our eldest I said, “Please don’t ever do drugs!” But who prepares/reminds us that we will be faced with a parental challenge of epic proportions almost every single day once our children make their way to us? Well, I guess that’s what I am doing right now, eh?
Don’t get me wrong, while I was sitting on the side of his bed and we were talking all of this through, I felt honored to be his mother. In those minutes, the awesome sense of responsibility came at me in full force. Looking back, I now realize that I had an idealistic and simplistic view of what parenting a very young child would be like; now it seems, overly so.
When I have a second to ponder the desperation I once felt about becoming a mother, I often think to myself, “I guess I should have used those months/years to prepare for how to alleviate my children’s angst about what life may have in store for them” (imagined or real). Now that I have been given the awesome gift of motherhood, I become stumped so often at the numerous inquiries my young children throw at me.
In short, here is my message to you—Spend the time that you have now preparing yourself to be the best parent that you can be. Once your child/children arrive, you will not be given a cheat sheet of the questions he/she/they will throw at you at any given moment. They start doing this at a very young age; you will be surprised!