**Warning: Melodramatic reflections on parenthood ahead.**
Parenthood is everything, and nothing like what I expected.
It is a great contradiction.
It is lonely, with more human contact than you feel like you can handle.
It is ridiculous and hilarious, and so gravely serious and heavy.
It feels like a piece of you has been found, but other parts of you are now missing or forgotten.
I am both the heroine and the person needing saving each day.
The future is exploding with hope and anticipation, and also mourning for the sweet stages that had to be left behind to get there.
It is…in a few words…a hot mess.
There are so many things I have yet to figure out. Like how are these internet people wearing make up AND niceish looking clothes AND managing to take perfect photographs while doing (I assume) the same every day activities I am up to my neck in. Who is holding their children while they blow dry their perfect wavy hair?? How do they complete tasks that require two hands?? No ma’am, in my house there’s poop on our laundry room floor (I stepped in it barefoot this morning, thank you very much), I change outfits MANY times per day (shorts and t-shirts only) because of the waterfall of baby spit up that flows like Niagra, and of course exercise and balanced meals are out of the picture at the moment.
And this is all the reality WITH the most supportive friends and husband in the world.
I’m just hoping I’m getting it right with the big things and trying to have grace for myself for everything else. An hour of peekaboo is slowly starting to feel like a productive use of my time, which seems like a win to me. So what have I learned so far? Gosh where do I even begin? Here’s a few…
- People find the most hilarious ways to creatively ask nosy questions about our family. Sorry strangers, you’ll have to leave the grocery store with more questions than answers about why I’m carrying around a child whose skin is twelve shades darker than mine. It’s nunya businezzz bye.
- Feelings of isolation and inadequacy come in waves. I ride it, feel it, acknowledge it, take a deep breath as it passes. Then I gear up for the next one.
- Asking for help is harder for me than I ever realized. Unfortunately, the saying about it taking a village is actually true, so I’ve had to confront this issue more than ever these last few months.
- So much of my insecurity and feelings of inadequacy about parenthood center around the transracial aspect of our adoption. Will I have the words to empower my son to see the innate beauty of his brown skin? Have I built enough awareness of the racism in our world to constantly confront it and allow our son to have confidence that his parents will fight for him for the rest of their lives? Will he resent us one day for participating in his placement into a family that doesn’t look like him? Will he care? Am I overthinking this? Focusing too much on race? Am I under thinking it? Not reading enough, doing enough, surrounding myself with enough people of color? There is hardly an hour that goes by these days without such questions racing through my head like one of those LED highway signs.
- I have not “arrived”. This was actually a confirmed theory I already held, as I was previously sensitive to people implying that moms have a higher value than other women. I certainly don’t have a higher worth or achieved any sort of ultimate enlightenment. This journey certainly is an invitation for constant growth, though. If anything, I have been exposed to how much further I have to go on this path to being the person I want to be, and there is a deep sense that the stakes are so much higher.
This little person is changing me, day by day. I love every single thing about him, and couldn’t be more grateful that his life intersected mine. I’m grateful for all the things I get to learn because of him, and how the love I have for him challenges me to grow in ways I never would have otherwise.
It is highly likely that I will never be one of the put-together-looking moms who make it all look like a breeze, and I guess that’s okay. My boy is thriving, (albeit covered in spit-up) and we’re learning together how to do this thing.