This prompt from a few weeks ago made me laugh out loud. My vision was WAY off! My son recently exclaimed that when he becomes a grown-up, he will do whatever he wants to do, (like play iPad all day, everyday)! Didn’t we all think that being an adult was going to be the best? That we would have freedom and no one would tell us what to eat, when to go to bed, make us do homework and chores? That is the irony, I suppose, that when we have freedom, we don’t necessarily recognize it for what it is because at every stage of life, we have our worries. We are in our “big time” right then. Only in hindsight can we fully understand how we grow over time. Only then can we fully comprehend what freedom really looks like.
Recently, I wrote about what I do all day as a stay-at-home-parent. I, in no way, pictured this sort of life as a kid. I planned to work. Kids weren’t really on the horizon. I’ve worked since I was about 14, so it was always just a given. I think as a kid, I figured I would have kids and family life, but I never really considered it. I never contemplated should I stay home or work. Growing up my own mom worked, and it just was the way it was.
There is a picture of me as a 4-year-old at my parents’ house. It’s of me with four band-aids on my knees with a microphone in my hand singing with headphones over my ears. Not only did I want to be a singer (which would never happen as anyone who has heard me sing will attest.) I was pretending to “fly” like Super Grover and “flew” down the driveway, thus sustaining my scraped-knee injuries. I literally thought I could fly, that I could be like Super Grover. I wanted to be an actress on a soap opera. I wanted to live in New York. I wanted to be a dancer. I wanted to be a linguist or an interpreter. I wanted to ride horses. I wanted to be a vet (until I accompanied my cat to her check up and discovered how temperatures are taken.) I changed vocational passions every week or two.
Flash forward to 37, two kids, a dog and a hubby and it is not at all what I would have thought my life would be like. When you have little-to-no life experience, you don’t know what’s out there. I had no idea I would marry a man in the military. I had no idea I would stay home full time to raise a family. I had no idea. About anything.
I had no idea that I would love my kids so fiercely. And be willing to fight for them like nothing else.
I had no idea that I could be so dang tired.
I had no idea that living in different places would grow me as a person, stretch my comfort zones, but most of all, lead me to all sorts of wonderful people I am lucky enough to call friends.
I had no idea that unloading the dishwasher, stepping on a misplaced Lego, or repeating myself fifty thousand times would make me want to tear my hair out.
I had no clue about noise. How much of it kids make, and how much I would bask in silence when it occurs.
I had no idea that having children would drastically change the way I saw my husband, how watching him become a parent with me would deepen our relationship in ways I couldn’t imagine.
I had no idea that I would fall in love with a dog. That I wouldn’t mind scooping poop.
I had no idea that I would actually hold out my hands to “catch” when my children show signs of vomiting. (And it wouldn’t make me sympathy-vomit.)
I had no idea how much I would value my alone time. Time to just think, pray, reflect and just be me, outside of my role in the family.
I had no idea how much I would come to crave really good chocolate. And wine.
I always thought of myself as a suburban girl, preferring a city with lots of things to do and places to go. I had no idea how much I would crave living in wide open spaces.
I had no idea that motherhood would be simultaneously the hardest, and best, thing I’ve ever done.
I just had no idea.
This life is not anything I could have dreamt, but in so many ways it’s more than I deserve, more than I could’ve asked for, and far richer than I could’ve imagined.
Perhaps my son is on to something. This being a grown-up thing is pretty darn cool.