I confess, I was never the girl who dreamed about having babies. I didn’t have names picked out when I was a twelve, nor did I imagine a day I’d have a houseful of kids. I wasn’t around many babies in my childhood, and I didn’t babysit much in adolescence. The rare times I did babysit ended in disasters like the kids ganging up on me, tying me to a chair with jump ropes and spinning me around, or an angry girl locking me out of the house and calling her mom at work to tell her how horrible I was. I fared better with children when they were at a distance – as in I was performing safely on a stage with my Dad and they sat well-behaved with their parents in the audience.
I knew I would have kids some day, but it was more of a matter-of-fact “Of course I will have kids someday,” rather than an emotional “Oh I can’t wait!!” daydream.
Even admitting those things in writing gives me this weird sense of guilt, as if I’m wired incorrectly or something. It’s not that I didn’t like kids, because I genuinely did. I just wasn’t the girl who gushed and cooed over every little, adorable, fuzzy-headed baby who crossed her path.
So when I got pregnant, even though we were “ready” to have kids (tongue in cheek because you are never really ready!), I was terrified, a little bit sick to my stomach, and not from the hormones. I wasn’t sure I could be trusted to raise a baby. What in the world would I do with him or her all day? How in the world with my sensitive gag reflexes would I ever be able to change thousands of stinky diapers? And what if the child threw up? I was the kid who threw up when my brother threw up merely out of sympathy. I looked at the positive pregnancy test, and then at Kedron and asked, “Are we sure about this?” He laughed, “A little late for that!”
Here I was a confident, type-A, driver, task-oriented person, who was often complimented in the workplace for learning things quickly. But when it came to babies – I. Was. Terrified.
And then seven years ago Little Miss Sunshine rather dramatically entered my life, and turned me upside down and inside out. It’s not that I suddenly fell in love with babies and turned into this super maternal woman. Except for when it came to her. I was mush. I went into motherhood overdrive. And I’ve never been the same. I’m still not a super baby oriented person. Although I have much more confidence now in calming a crying little one, entertaining them, making them laugh, ok so I think babies are pretty awesome.
I discovered that the things I was good at before having kids became even greater strengths in motherhood. God wired me just for this child (and her little brother T-Rex). And while I’m not a perfect parent, I’m perfectly fitted to parent them. Somewhere along the line I stopped beating myself up for all the lack of what I thought should be “normal” maternal feelings and actions, and I embraced who I was, just how God had created me.
There’s nothing quite like watching a mini-me run around the house. I knew I was in trouble not long ago when she worked me over and tried to get me in trouble with my own Dad. We had been discussing how Grandpa Steve used to have hair. That was a completely novel concept to her and she couldn’t imagine what he looked like with hair. Somewhere in the course of the conversation I told her, “Well, I was happy when he started shaving the rest of his hair off. He looks so much better bald!”
She tucked that conversation in the back of her little brain to use against me later. A few weeks after that we were visiting my parents when I heard her say, “Grandpa Steve, my mommy says you looked terrible with hair!” Oh yes, I have met my match. I came screeching into the room, “That is NOT what I said!!” One look at my Dad and I knew he was going to milk this for all it was worth. His shoulders were shaking in silent laughter and his eyes sparkled with mischief. “So, I looked terrible with hair, huh?” I knew I was had.
And I was glad to be had. I couldn’t imagine life any other way. Happy Birthday this weekend Little Miss Sunshine!!