When you get ready for your first baby, you will utter the words “The baby won’t change our lives that much”. People who are already parents will laugh, and say “Sorry, you’re wrong”.
I wish I could say they are idiots but they aren’t. Some things don’t change. You are still you, you still love the things you love before, most of the things you believe won’t change and even the things you love to do are still things you love to do though you have much less time to enjoy them.
The things that do change are not really what I expected, things like my view of the world. No longer did I think just about where something would look good in my house, now I had to think, what if he turns it over, will it break? Will it hurt him if it falls? What impact does this or that have on the environment, not just your home but the whole world? What am I leaving behind for him to grow up to? I still loved music, loved to sing, to play it loud and dance along, but now I thought about the lyrics, where they something I wanted him to hear? Words I wanted him to grow up saying? Was it too loud for his tiny perfect little ears? I went from not minding if it was a bit too hot, or too cold, to worrying constantly if he was comfortable. Every little thing changes a little. From temperature to music, to is this product sustainable? Even things like if I stay up late reading will I be too tired to hear him cry? Your dreams change too, we all have the same dream that we put him/her down somewhere and can’t remember where, or wake thinking you heard a baby cry and there is nothing when you wake. Even getting up just to watch them breathe, for fear they have stopped.
Those dreams change, and as they grow so do you. The tiny human who gave you a new name, Mom, starts to use that name, starts to follow you, mimic you, and repeat the things you say, do the things you do. Now you change again, you watch less reality TV and more educational TV. You try to curse less (I said TRY). You see your bad habits mimed by a mini you and start trying to change them. For everything you teach them, they teach you. Then they grow more, they do typical things like talk back, or call you the world’s worst parent, you will cry and scream and then stand over them after they sleep and wonder if you really are the world’s worst parent. You will often feel like you are doing everything wrong, but you keep doing your best.
One day you will see him being kind to someone, or helping his sibling. You will see him do well on a test, or doing something you loved to do as a child, you will beam with pride and maybe forget to tell him you saw and you were proud. However, in that moment, you will realize that maybe you aren’t doing everything wrong after all.
Eventually, they outgrow you, or so you think. He wants to do things on his own to show you how very well you did. He may or may not call you, and tell you thanks, but he is thankful. Strangely so are you, you are thankful that you were wrong. You are glad you changed and most of all you are more than ready to tell your child when he has his first child that he will change too, maybe you will even be able to tell him how wonderful that change is. Or maybe you will curse him and say I hope your child is exactly like you. You learn of unconditional love, and maybe routine isn’t so bad after all, that dreams change and turn out even better than you could have known. You learn that giving your all doesn’t mean you gave up anything. Most of all you learn that this tiny person is your heart, walking around in the world, and you want to do everything you can to protect them.
Maybe that change isn’t so bad, after all, you learn the true meaning of unconditional love, that maybe “routine” isn’t so bad after all, that dreams change and turn out even better than you could have known. You learn that giving your all doesn’t mean you gave up anything. Most of all you learn that this tiny person is your heart, walking around in the world, and you want to do everything you can to protect them, to teach them love and to help them grow. Then you realize they help you realize the good in the world, teach you what it means to grow, to love and what dreams matter. Who knows, you might even realize that change can be wonderful!