Four years ago, I sat in a rocking chair in my unborn daughter’s nursery and cried. Hysterically. Josh stood in the doorway and stared at his very pregnant wife, unsure of exactly what to say or do and uncertain if perhaps something he had already said or done was what had spurred such an incredible display of emotions from his typically poker-faced wife.
Although the pregnancy was planned, it wasn’t very well thought out.
“Maybe we should have a baby.”
I’m certain we’ve had lengthier and more serious discussions about shower curtains and tire tread.
Four weeks and four pregnancy tests later, we were pregnant. Pregnant.
I was just 24 when Emery was born. I had been playing grown up longer than most other women my age and after 3 years of marriage, it felt like Josh and I had been married for ages. Now, after 7 years of marriage, I can’t believe we were so naive to think we had this marriage thing mastered so quickly.
Cooking for two, clean laundry and balancing a budget. Check! Next up – Babies!
By the time that June evening rolled around, it all seemed like a very, very bad idea.
About 18 hours after my rocking chair meltdown, Emery was born on a rainy June afternoon to two utterly clueless parents. I had no idea of what was ahead. Honestly, I didn’t think much past wee babes wrapped snuggly around my chest and tiny bits of lace on bloomers.
Was I going to co-sleep? Maybe? Breastfeed? I think so…? Did I research car seats? Pediatricians? Vaccinations? Bottles? Daycare? Diapers?
Most people misunderstood my approach to parenting as laid-back or flexible. In reality, I just had no freaking clue parenting involved so many decisions. I didn’t realize there were choices on how to discipline, educate, interact. And even if I made a decision, I failed to recognize that there would be this other little person with a mind and personality of her own who didn’t care I rushed my hugely pregnant booty to Target and spent an hour choosing the best BPA-free, latex-free, orthodontist approved pacifier. She hated those $12 pacifiers and insisted on the latex, tooth-snaggling variety. Pick your battles.
Throughout the past four years, this girl has changed me. Her fiery spirit is rivaled only by the size of her heart and learning how to raise her has forced me to study the deepest parts of myself to find and understand those things that I buried years ago. Doing this breaks me down to the humblest and most vulnerable of positions because the only way I can attempt to understand her is if I understand myself. This child is more like me than I care to admit. It’s the most awesome and terrifying responsibility to nurture such an amazing little being who carries such incredible talents and traits. Because I am most certain that this child will move mountains and defeat giants once she sets her mind to it.
The flip-side of such a strong personality is taming such an innate defiance toward authority and those silly things called rules (again, like me. Sorry, Josh). Some days, all I can do is throw my hands in the air and pray with every fiber of my being that above all else, I don’t screw this up.
Apparently Em’s second birthday was as rough as I remember because we have zero pictures together and only a few blurred snapshots of her running laps around our backyard in a tutu. Followed by many, many tears when she blew out her candles. I’m so glad those days are behind us.
I can say with great sincerity that I cannot wait to see what this year brings. I have high hopes that “four” is our year. She’s coming into her own and watching her grow and blossom is a pleasure and honestly, rather hilarious. Happy Fourth Birthday, sweet girl.