Pregnancy is all about preparation. I remember from the moment I found out I was expecting, I downloaded all of the apps, bought all of the parenting books, and started contacting my mama friends for advice. I wanted to stockpile as much wisdom as I could while also loading up on all of the cute onesies and nursery items.
I knew that being a mom would be a huge learning experience every single day, or more accurately, a trial by fire. This tiny human would be looking to me to provide for all of his needs. He would be learning from me and studying me and his environment every day. The thought was exciting and also a little terrifying. It felt like a test I knew I needed to study for but didn’t know how.
When he was born, I felt that same urgency to know everything I could possibly know and do everything I could possibly do. I am constantly learning from the research, from friends, and from mommy forums. And, all the while, I am preparing my son to learn from me. But I still find myself looking at him asleep in my arms and marveling at all of the lessons HE is already teaching ME. I am relearning so much about the world as I watch him discover it with new eyes.
He is teaching me to fearlessly try new things. I watch him practice crawling, standing, and walking with lots of stumbles and missteps. But, he isn’t ashamed of his process. He isn’t scared to try again after he falls. I can’t always say the same for myself. When I try new things, I am constantly fearful of falling and of the shame that would accompany it. But, like that sweet little boy, I can take a moment to cry or regroup and then try again. I can think of failure as functional strengthening, each step helping to create muscle memory as I move forward in this crazy life.
He is teaching me to see wonder in the world around me. It can be so easy for me to forget how truly vibrant colors are or how amazing music is. His eyes get wide and his smile even wider as he makes these everyday discoveries. How much more magical could our days be if we adopted that same practice? I’m trying to remember what that awe feels like and how truly awesome it is to stop and reflect on it in the middle of the chaos.
He is teaching me to stop taking myself so seriously. When my baby discovered the art of laughing, all bets were off. There was nothing I wouldn’t do to hear that musical sound again. I made the most ridiculous noises and faces. I danced around the kitchen. I updated my comedy routine as necessary as he moved on to bigger and better laughs and would grow tired of my previous set. And in doing this, it made me realize how hard it can be to laugh at ourselves. There is so much freedom that goes along with being able to find the humor in our hectic households. I find myself laughing right along with him these days.
Most importantly, he is teaching me how to keep my heart open to love. There is nothing like that sweet baby grabbing my hand or smiling as I walk into a room. The pure delight and kicking feet as I approach his crib kicks up a joy within me that I didn’t know I could have. And while this love can be clouded for me sometimes with worrying if I’m doing the right things for him and being the best mom I can be, I am reminded that if love is at the core, it will flow into everything. And, that is surely enough for him and for me.
So, if you’re feeling nervous about motherhood, know that it’s absolutely normal to want to prepare. But also take comfort in knowing that no book will prepare you for the beauty of the laughs you’ll share, the life you’ll create, and the love you’ll experience as you learn together day by day.
So, thank you, my sweet boy, for giving me this chance to learn alongside you and to grow with you in courage, strength, and love. These life lessons and little moments have made every day so extraordinary.