I remember getting a few strange responses when I started announcing my pregnancy to friends and family. In amongst the congratulations I had people ask me the following questions (could not make this up if I tried): “Who is going to teach your kid to drive? Won’t that freak you out?”
“What are you going to do if your baby isn’t as smart as you?”
Are you going to send your kid to Xavier/Brophy?!” (the private high school I attended and the all boys school my high school partners with) “What are you going to do if they want to become an actor?”
“What are you going to do if they don’t want to become an actor?”
“How far apart do you want any future siblings to be?”
“College prices are going to be so expensive by then. Are you going to let him/her go out of state?”
“What age are you going to start extracurriculars? Will you do sports or music? What instrument? Which sport?” (Strangely several along this line of questioning.. maybe they wanted to get themed onesies?)
“I think you might die in childbirth. Are you worried about that?”
And I have to say… aside from that last question, I think my response to all of those was: I just want to survive the first year then I can start tackling those other questions! (I suppose that would imply an answer to the last question…) Well, I’ve survived the first year and most of those questions- I still don’t have to think about, but when I do think about them they don’t particularly worry me. Then there are other questions that pop up during the day and seem more important than they need to be. Often they deal with if I’m parenting well enough in the little things and these questions are not productive and try to suck away my energy and my joy. I’m trying really hard to identify them and move past them.
You know what questions do worry me though? The ones that keep me up at night?
*What is the best way to teach him kindness and respect for others? Especially when it’s so easy to slip up in my own example of kindness
*What will I do to help my son through his first heartache?
*How do I teach him to play hard and play to win but to remember that in the end it’s just a game?
*How do I best communicate to my son that he is loved beyond measure by his parents and by God no matter what he does?
*What experiences are worth sacrificing for so he can have them and what experiences are OK to let go so we can save for the future?
*How do I keep my sometimes crippling perfectionism from being passed down but still encourage goal setting and challenges?
*How do I help him cultivate the kind of friendships I have that I cherish so much? Or is that even possible?
I don’t have any answers to the first or final set of questions… I take a little comfort in the thought that I’m not sure if anyone has definitive answers, but so far my only strategy is a lot of prayer and a lot of love while I keep stumbling through this whole parenting experience. And being willing to continually learn. Sorry son, you didn’t have an instruction manual and this is our first time doing this. I hope if you read this some day you will at least know how much we love you and continually thought about doing what’s best for you! And in the meantime, I’m trying to focus those insomnia filled moments on this reminder from one of my favorite authors: