In marriage you choose to commit to a lifetime together based on the 60-75% of that person that you know and love. The other 40-25% you get a chance to get to know over years and even then, a person can grow and change.
In parenthood you choose to commit in love to a lifetime together based on the 2-5% that you know about them. The other 95-98% you get to know in the first few years of their life and even then, children are constantly changing.
When I became a mom to Z, I chose to be vulnerable to give up my body as another’s home. I chose to change the focus of my callings. I took on new jobs and duties; ones I had minimal experience or qualifications for.
As I found out quickly with Z, it didn’t matter how much I prepared ahead of time. There is no choice but to learn, research, then adapt while on the job.
Z is unique and has his own wants, needs, personality, and means of communicating that I am constantly learning and adapting to. These last three years have been the hardest learning curve I’ve ever faced.
As I look to this summer and think of doing this all over again, I am comforted in knowing that some of what I have learned with Z will come in handy. He has prepared me for this little one. I am not as anxious to read, research, or glean advice from others on what or how to do this first year of parenting.
I know that just like with Z, when this little one is born, I will be in research mode, an observer, adapting. I will learning as I go: about how this child is unique and has their own wants, needs, personality, and means of communicating.
Second time around I have more grace for myself and my family. I know we will make mistakes; we will try again. This time I am more confident that we will figure it out . . . with time.
I have the reassurance from experience that this process of trial and error is healthy and normal. It takes hard work and time for everyone to establish their new roles and sense of self.
I am sure we will adjust, we will adapt, and we will learn about and from each other until being a family of four feels normal.