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.