Ever since my preggo bump started showing (at about 9 weeks, lol), people have been using the phrase, “here’s what you have to look forward to”. I hear this from friends, family, and complete strangers. I hear it even more now that I’m a new mom, especially when my babies are sleeping blissfully in the stroller.
The person who says this is almost always referring to something super stressful.
Sitting at The Cheesecake Factory with my husband, my bump nearly touching the table, and there’s a family next to us with their two toddlers. One is refusing to eat his meal and the other is screaming uncontrollable because the wind blows. Both parents look exhausted and ready to kill themselves and their children. They look over at us and laugh, “Here’s what you have to look forward to”.
A young boy at Target doesn’t want to put the toy away at his mother’s request. She insists and he bucks back at her. He throws down the toy and screams at the top of his lungs, “you’re the meanest mommy ever!” She rolls her eyes and says, “Here’s what you have to look forward to”.
At Whole Foods, I’m wheeling my sleeping babies through the salad line and I see a six year old loading buckets of cheese onto his salad before his mom notices. She gasps and catches my eye, “Ugh! Here’s what you have to look forward to”.
My sister texts me a photo of my nephew after he paints himself with his food pouch in the car and is beyond pleased with his artwork. The comment? “Here’s what you have to look forward to”.
Seriously? As if I got pregnant completely unaware of the fact that there will be tough times. My husband and I have co-parented his sixteen year old son for the past twelve years and more days than not he’s a total butthead. We didn’t decide to be parents in the vain hope that our child would sleep straight through the night, eat gourmet foods, have the manners of a royal heir, and never throw tantrums. We knew what we were getting into.
I know what I have to look forward to!
I now can look forward to smiles in the middle of the night. I can look forward to seeing them take their first steps. I can look forward to laughing at the face they make when they first try a lemon. I can look forward to their first day of kindergarten. What about that phone call from a teacher that my child helped the new kid in class? I can hardly wait to lay next to them all night rubbing their back when they’re sick. Oh, and what about Saturday mornings piled into bed with doughnuts watching cartoons? Or the day they run in and tell me they were chosen as the STAR helper for next week. Graduation! Making a soccer goal! Talent show! Spelling bee! Wedding day! The list goes on and on and on. I knew what I was missing before I became a parent and trust. I know what I have to look forward to.