20 November 2010

I remember watching a contraband episode of Friends long ago in which a pregnant Jennifer Aniston/Rachel Green was relishing in her baby shower. And why wouldn't she be enjoying it? She's about a million days through her pregnancy but her legs are still lanky and her Title 9 arms un-chubbed. This enjoyment started to wither, however, when her gifts began prompting questions of, "Why would I need that?" or "What's this for?" Before the third commercial break she had a completely adorable meltdown of, "I've been so focused on the pregnancy I forgot to figure out what I'd do with the baby!" [Cue audience laughter]

Even as a high school student, I watched it believing I would be very different when it was MY turn to be the skinniest pregnant woman alive. I was the 2nd of 4 children, and a highly solicited babysitter. And, I LOVE BABIES.

Now here I am, pregnant and the clock is ticking. After a couple of rude awakenings I realize I have been something of a pregnant Rachel Green, the flabby armed version. But I know there probably isn't much of a point to try to "figure it all out" before D-Day. When I got to Costa Rica for my mission, I remember thinking all the books I'd read in preparation, all the time I'd spent learning Spanish, all the lectures and lessons from returned missionary teachers in the Missionary Training Center, it was all a load of crap. NO, it was NOT a load of crap, but I may have muttered that under my breath a few times in that first week. It wasn't crap, it was just that they made us feel that we were prepared, and then I got there and learned you can't be. The mountains of time I'd spent training for my mission could be perhaps more accurately called "help". It was "helpful" to study Spanish and memorize scriptures, but it was not close to sufficient training. My scriptures were artistically hilighted in Provo and I was the best speaker in my district. I got to Costa Rica a pale gringa who didn't know Spanish could be spoken so quickly, and didn't even begin to understand who these people were, what they needed, and how I could help them. There were so many more variables than I had anticipated.

I have resigned myself to the fact that I am at the proverbial Salt Lake City International Airport all over again, and the adjustment to life after the flight will be just as difficult if not more painful. I have years of babysitting siblings, friends, nieces, and nephews under my belt. I have a bad-A stroller and the most comfortable glider of all the gliders in the kingdom. But I know that soon, I will be a rookie in the job I have always known to be my most important one.

Sometimes I panic when I am reminded that the world has changed a lot since I was a girl wearing a tutu day and night. Last month a child psychologist came to chat with the Relief Society about parenting tactics. I had no idea some of the things I would be up against. He offered more warnings and strategies for dealing with girls than boys and I left relieved that as of now, daughters are not my lot in life. Not so fast, Merz. The next Sunday's Relief Society lesson was about keeping our families safe from the evils of pornography which dealt more with, you guessed it, sons. I may have broken a sweat and in the middle of it my charming friend may have squeaked, "I can't do this! I have a little boy!" There are many times when I wonder how I'll ever keep up with the declining moral strength of the world and keep my home a happy refuge where my family wants to be protected.

At the end of these internal panics I usually just let an audible whimper slip out but come, again, to the conclusion that I will do my best and learn to swim after I've been flung into the Pacific. I have the examples of 2 strong, savvy mothers, Madame Meri and Madame Charissa, who will also continue to be premium grandmothers. Our grandmothers, aunts, sisters both Hayes and Eaton, cousins, friends, I know they are there to learn from and to comfort me and nudge me along. We have been promised by the general leaders of the LDS church that if we stay close to the Lord our families will be protected. I've never looked to a promise with such hope and humility, knowing that Jeff and I indisputably need heavenly help in this jou-- (ha! I almost wrote the "J" word on my blog!) -- I mean, in this new and everlasting phase of life we will enter in just a couple of months.

I take ever so much solace in knowing motherhood comes with a wardrobe a bit cuter than rayon dresses and orthopedic shoes and includes snuggling with my husband.


Kevin and Kristina said...

You will be a fabulous mom. There is a lot that is hard and new and a lot that is really familiar. I feel like I get dumber and know less every day as a parent... but maybe that means I'm growing? :) You and Jeff are going to have so much fun figuring things out together. We have never laughed as much together as we did the first few months with Andrew... and we continue to have so much fun. The cluelessness is sometimes what makes it such a great adventure. We are so excited for you guys!

KatieB said...

good job on not using the j-word. i remember crying when my mom left me alone in baltimore a few days after coming home with my first baby. the next day i took rylee to her check up and the nurse asked me to undress her and i realized i'd never done it before! my mom had taken care of it the whole time. it was really humiliating learning how to do that in front of the nurse. looking back, all that baby stuff was the easy stuff. i'm starting the hard stuff now, the stuff that has lasting consequences throughout the rest of their lives. they won't remember any of those tiny things i messed up on when they were babies, but if i'm too lazy to have fhe or don't do a good job teaching them right from wrong about something--that's what's going to come back to haunt me.

S.A.R. said...

I love the part of that friends episode when Rachel realizes how often babies need to be changed, and she says, "What are we feeding this thing, Indian food?!"

You will be such a fun (and hot) Mom. Baby X is so lucky!!