When I was pregnant with my first child I did everything I could to ensure that she was happy and healthy inside my belly. I gave up caffeine, took my vitamins and ate special foods along the way to support different stages of development.Somewhere around the third month, I realized I had this "growing a tiny human thing" down pat, but what scared me most was I had no idea how I was going to protect my baby once she was born. Sure I had babysat as a teenager, and I always helped with the kids at holiday gatherings but I didn't have any real combat experience!
When she was tucked safety inside my womb, I could protect her from everything that is harsh in this world. No matter how frightened I was, nature took its course and on Oct. 29 at 6:26 p.m., I became a mother to a beautiful little girl. It was amazing, my body...at times it seemed even my soul...knew what to do.
A few days later my husband and I welcomed our little buddle of joy into her home. While there were moments we wondered how on earth we were going to survive another sleepless night, overall things settled into a nice routine. My sweet little newborn did three main things - nursed, slept, and pooped. That cycle seemed to repeat itself endlessly. In those early months, I became quite confident in my parenting skills...until we took a trip to Wal-Mart.
While my sweet simple newborn slept through the checkout line at Wal-Mart...the poor mother behind me fought with her wild toddler over everything from sitting still in the cart, to not getting a candy bar, and the most interesting of all...why it isn't ok to pick your nose in public!
I felt the fear creep into me...would that be me in a few short years? My sweet baby wouldn't act that way would she? How will we be able to deal with times like those? We didn't have toddler meltdown skills! Remember...all we could do was nurse, sleep and poop!
In the months to follow this checkout line moment, I learned something very important. Parenthood starts the moment you see those two pink lines...the moment you hear that tiny heartbeat...but what we don't realize is we do not have to know it all from the start.
We will learn so much of what we need to know from our babies as they grow. If we listen, they will tell us what they need...if we follow, they will show us how to help them grow. At every new step it is certain that we will make mistakes, but children are forgiving...they will wait for us to figure things out.
While I anticipate the drama that is none other than the teenage years, I can't begin to explain the level of fear I feel...curfews, hormones, dating - oh my! But I am confident that we will survive it, because I know that as a parent I will continue to learn how to help my children as they make their way through life. Thankfully, they will be patient with me as I am growing up!