Nothing is What You Expect

I was talking to a new friend of mine yesterday who is due with her first child in March.  I asked her how she was doing.

“Okay,” she said, cautiously. “It’s not what I expected.”

She talked about being more tired and more sick and more forgetful than she had planned for, and I remembered that yes, it was not what I had expected, either. After the baby arrived, after I went back to work  – well, it’s never been the way I’ve imagined it would be.

I wish I could quote what she said next – something about “Happiness is the opposite of expectation” or something.

So, all these changes, all these surprises, parenthood has changed me in a very deep way – but if I lose the expectation part of it – well, then, it’s all easier to accept.

I never thought I would care so much about whether another human being finishes eating, eats enough, eats enough vegetables, drinks enough water.

I never thought I would care so intimately about the frequency and consistency of another human being’s bowels.

I never expected to worry so much about locked doors and stairs and weather and cleaning supplies and everything else in the world that seems like it is hazardous to the health of my child. Which is basically, according to all the blogs and FDA announcements and reports and studies, EVERYTHING in the world.
I never thought I’d give in to my toddler.

I never thought I’d be one of those frenetic parents at a restaurant, trying to restrain and hush a child wailing and crawling out from under the table, making for stranger feet.

I never thought I’d think sleeping in – or heck, just sleeping – was luxurious.

And on it goes.

Anyway, the biggest thing for me is that the feeling of just not being able to do anything enough in order to do it right enough – parenting, work, marriage, self-nourishing, family care, global citizen –  cuts right to the core of my issues of wanting to Be Good Enough, so that sometimes I think some of the stress around these issues is, indeed, self-induced.

Point being – I love this. I love this life. And I need to remind myself of this, so that I don’t get caught up in expending my energy on trying to be enough when I already am.

I thought of this while listening to this Alanis Morrisette song, “Offer”:

Who
Who am I to be blue
Look at my family and fortune
Look at my friends and my house

Who
Who am I to feel deadend
Who am I to feel spent
Look at my health and my money

And where
Where do I go to feel good
Why do I still look outside me
When clearly I’ve seen it won’t work

Is it my calling to keep on when I’m unable
And is it my job to be selfless extraordinary
And my generosity has me disabled
By this my sense of duty to offer

And why
Why do I feel so ungrateful
Me who is far beyond survival
Me who see life as an oyster

Is it my calling to keep on when I’m unable
And is it my job to be selfless extraodinary
And my generosity has me disabled
By this my sense of duty to offer

And how
How dare I rest on my laurels
How dare I ignore an outstretched hand
How dare I ignore a third world country

Is it my calling to keep on when I’m unable
And is it my job to be selfless extraodinairy
And my generosity has me disabled
By this my sense of duty to offer

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: