I have a friend who is expecting - any day now, I'm SOOOOO excited - and it's taken me back, down memory lane. It's not always been a pleasant ride, and it's been a little bumpy at times - but despite the super need for a seatbelt, it's been a learning experience for me.
My WHOLE LIFE is a LEARNING experience. I am so full of the learning stuff.
Think back. Way, way back - back when you were expecting your very. first. baby. How excited you were! How full of PLANS and JOY and CERTAINTY that you were going to be the ONE. The very best ONE, the very best parent for the very best baby and no one would be able to be a better parent than anyone else, ever, in the history of parenting.
Or, maybe, you know, that was just - me.
I think I've said before that Hubris and I are justlikethat. We have long been best friends. Hubris never leaves my side, kind of like that lonely boy in high school who is convinced you had a relationship, even though you passed in the hall once, back in the day.
Hubris makes it all about him, is what I'm saying.
Any time I think I've learned the lesson, Hubris comes out from behind and steps in front of me and just - stops dead - forcing me to run straight into him like a drunken relative who just will NOT get out of your way no matter how hard you try to just walk around and ignore and keep the peace and take the higher ground, all the adulty stuff.
Nope, Hubris wants to make sure you know that you really don't know it all, really aren't an expert, and you really need to just keep your focus down and try again, silly head.
No, one thing I've learned in my parenting career - is that I do not know it all. In fact, the only thing I *do* know is that I do NOT know anything. Because, the reality is - that person, that kid, isn't you. It's another person, another individual.
I know you know that, I'm preaching to the choir here - but hang tight with me for a second.
You will do everything you can to make sure that your baby eats organic baby food, lovingly prepared by your kind and gentle hands - and then you open a lunch box, several years later, to find a black banana, empty soda can and two empty Frito bags, along with half a crushed Oreo - and you know you didn't buy those foods.
You will use the safest car seat, buckled just so. You will pick the best sneakers, teach him to walk his bike across intersections, go over and over and over safety instructions so as to avoid even the smallest of injuries - and one day, your kid will skateboard down a 70° angle into a back flip and land on his head. Or jump into a Jeep with no doors and no roof and no seatbelts (!) and hear, later, about off roading straight up an incline so steep the Jeep backslid
and it was so cool, Mom.
Or she will, despite your best, most severe warnings and dire predictions, will drive a boy she's NEVER MET BEFORE home from a blind date, and wait outside his house while he goes in to grab his gear, leaving his phone and his DOG in her car and making her wait for 30 minutes.
Those different choices, man. Those different choices, made by people you work so hard to make the best, most perfect replicas of the best parts of you. You will get rid of the bad parts of both parents and only keep the good.
Sometimes, you dream about your perfect baby, who will sleep deeply in 8 hour increments, smile angelically and eat all the foods, but most especially the green vegetables and the fish of the seas
And you, instead, are awarded a child who hates to sleep, is a head banger in the literal sense, and subsists solely on water, graham crackers and plain spaghetti noodles. And thank the Gods above that you don't know your future self, for you would be appalled if you saw yourself in ten years - but one day you will just - let said child pack water and graham crackers and spaghetti noodles for lunch, anything to get her to stop talking about icky foods that smell and taste strange and gross and to just -
stop the battle.
Those brains, the very ones you force fed fish oil and anything else that might help brain development, so you could have a smart AND healthy child - those brains are wired differently.
One day you will realize that those people you tried to make the very best humans possible will think daily showers are optional, smelly socks are fine, and face wash is for losers. They will find it admirable to burp the alphabet, laugh at Will Ferrell so hard they snort, and snap bra straps and pull wedgies with the rest of their friends.
They are different people. They are not you, as hard as you try and as much as you love the parts of you which you tried to imprint on their souls. You will definitely, undoubtedly, stand in shock at least twice - if that's all it is, you are a saint - and say to yourself, "What did I do wrong, to make someone think that is the right thing to say/do/think/feel/act on?"
But it's not you. Good OR bad - it's not you. Those are individual humans with brains that haven't had your particular shaping but instead - must go through their own shaping and education and fire.
Not you, with your experiences and color and view. You have to let go of that internal vision, the one that saw you applauding the perfect person as he announced a Cure for all Cancers everywhere. You let go, and hope, that when all is said and done
you can meld the imagined with the reality and be at peace
because sometimes, your best isn't enough but it's all you have.