At 20 I had no idea what to expect when becoming a mom. I was excited, I was nervous. I read all the books, I listened to the all the doctors, I prepared my 20 year old brain as much as I possibly could. After 18 long and gruesome hours of labor, a doctor whom I hated, forceps which I hated more and a 9 1/2lb baby sunny side up, I realized I might not be ready for all this.
But it was too late.
Ready or not, here he came.
At 6:09pm on a Monday night, he entered my world. This beautiful, bright eyed baby boy totally and completely dependent on me. I was overjoyed and scared out of my mind. My fears of how I could completely screw up this kid were on the forefront of my mind, but overshadowed by a love of immense proportions.
2 days later, we were sent on a merry way. With the exception of a baby blanket and a La Leche Hotline to call, we were on our own. People often joke about the lack of materials given to parents. "Where's the manual to this thing?" As a young mom, I needed all the help I could get.
While I continued to read the parenting books, I noticed a trend in how they left out how to properly handle important episodes of parenting, such as:
- Blowouts that resulted in scrubbing sweet potato baby poop with a toothbrush out of every crevice on a crib.
- Blowouts that resulted in a toddler being stripped down, handed out the window directly behind him and being hosed off in the backyard. It was a one story window and summertime, people, Simmer down.
- Meltdowns in stores that resulted in 45 seconds of parental ignoring (so I could pay for my stuff & get the hell out), ugly stares from strangers in line, and a kid flailing in the floor because I wouldn't let him have candy.....
....or push the cart into displays
....or run from me
....or trash the entire store
....or lick the floor
- Mastering the potty training stance of him standing on my feet to make him just tall enough to pee in public potties and the blood curdling mom scream when he'd reach for the germ infested toilet seat to balance himself.
- Getting used to the woman-stare when I would take him in the Ladies Room with me. Wha??? Is 14 too old? I merely jest. He was 4.
- Learning how to get used to the morning preschool drop offs without tears. And he stopped crying eventually, as well.
- Knowing the right solutions to those dreaded notes that came home from preschool:
"Your son bit his friend in school today"
"Your son pushed his friend on the playground today"
And worrying that this little punk is going to grow up with no friends.
- Learning to let go of the daily little battles. If he wants to wear his spiderman costume to school, by god, let him. If he wants to wear his Duke sweatshirt a third day in a row in 95 degree heat, by all means, DO IT.
Through the years, parenting became easier in some aspects and harder in others. The blowouts, meltdowns and tears eventually evolved into stubborness, hormones, laziness, and tears. Eventually the "Untold Parenting Obstacles" were:
- Riding his waves of triumphs and defeats as a spectator, as a cheerleader, as a motivator, as a Mom; sometimes clueless, sometimes well educated.
- Seeing him hurt and my desire to beat and torture the little assmunch that hurt him. No book warned me about Mom-Sympathy-Heartbreak. That sh*t hurts. And it hurts bad.
- Watching him pull out of the driveway for the first time after getting his drivers license = my heart being ripped out of my body. A little dramatic? Maybe. But totally accurate.
- Dropping him off at college and fighting the urge to fall on the floor, grab him by the ankle and beg him not to stay.
2 decades ago, I embarked on this amazing journey of Mommyhood. In a sense, we grew up together. I thought I was guiding him, but looking back, he was the one guiding me. As many moms do, I wonder quite often "If I had to do over...."
And I wouldn't change a thing.
Well, maybe less sweet potatoes as a toddler
As a 20 year old mom, I worried I wasn't quite prepared to raise him. As a 40 year old mom, I'm worried I'm not quite prepared to let him go. But in spite of the amount of birthdays, he'll always be my baby boy.