Once upon a time, I was childless. I slept in on the weekends, could come and go as I pleased, and only had to be responsible for my own bathroom habits. Who was that innocent, carefree person of years past? I hardly know anymore, but old journals suggest she was terribly self-absorbed and actually whined about not having enough time to write. Now, I wonder what I actually did with all that free time floating around.
Since my daughter came into my life, I’ve learned to use my time more efficiently; and I’d like to think I’m a little bit wiser. There are some things I’ve learned about parenthood in the past ten years that “young me” had no inkling about. You guessed it–here’s a list:
- Tooth brushing is an agonizing, tortuous activity. Who knew?
- I am now responsible for another being’s pee/poo on an intimate level never dreamed of (especially with a spina bifida kid).
- Speaking of which, I’ll not only learn how to pronounce “spina bifida”, but way more than I ever wanted to know about it. Ask me about cone enemas, I dare you.
- Wow, I’m really not the center of the Universe. There’s a kind of relief in that knowledge.
- After years of absolutely no interest in other people’s children, suddenly, every child is my child, and I find them interesting and precious.
- At ten, my daughter is beginning to personally remind me how dumb I actually am. (Eye rolls and “Don’t you get it?” are common occurrences. Um, no?).
- Being a parent forces me to be social with other human beings. I guess that’s good?
- I’ve made the rather appalling realization that I’ll never stop worrying. Never.
- Having a child is truly a great way to see the world anew, with innocent, wondrous eyes. And that’s good for a writer, not to mention just about everyone else, too.
- I’ll never know a greater, deeper, more unconditional love. Never.
Having children is not for everyone, and there was a time I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a parent myself. But Lilly is the best thing that ever happened to me, pee/poo notwithstanding. And I am beginning to get those weekend sleep-ins back. Which makes me a little sad, since it means she’s growing up. But I’ll take it.