Posted by Duff

“Two is not one.” said a well-meaning co-worker of my husband’s last week. Well, crap on a cracker. I don’t want to hear that!

 This time, I’m really listening, and trying to glean meaning from the wisdom of those with more parenting experience than I’ve got.

When I was pregnant with The Dervish, another well-meaning co-worker of my husband’s said, “Your life is going to change.”

We thought we were so wise, so prepared. I think that something along the lines of “No shite, Sherlock.” ran through my head after hearing that one. Of course a baby was going to change our lives. What were we, dense that we couldn’t figure that out? But I was reading. I was asking questions. Surely, I was going to be prepared. I wasn’t going into this blindly.

Except, I was. Even if Mr. Your Life is Going To Change had told me about doing many things one-handed, the struggle to eat, shower, or converse with each other, the self-doubt, the worry, the aching love you feel when watching your child sleep – none of these things would have prepared us for the reality of experiencing them with our actual minds and bodies, and not just wearing the easily removable Abstract Parenting Caps of The Oblivious.

You just can’t explain this stuff to someone who isn’t breathing it. It’s no one’s fault. It’s like trying to draw a picture that encompasses love. Or trying to portray what rain smells like with a xylophone. You cannot wrap your brain around the enormity of the task or convey your truth to someone on an alternate wavelength.

So when he came home with “Two is Not One,” I knew we were in for it. There is no amount of mental scheduling or nursery organization or discussion with a 2 year, 9 month old that will prepare any of us for another soul. Another wildcard personality. Another I-can’t-even-fathom what s/he is and will bring to our lives.

I am transported back to hour 19 of my induction, late night, lights off, no contractions, a break from the Pitocin, no one awake but me and the hospital staff that sat lightyears away on the other side of a closed door.  My husband slept soundly on a hospital couch, I watched the TV blinking blue at me and waited for pain to signal progress, and it would not. There was nothing but the limbo between no children and one child, and I started to cry, because I was not.at.all.prepared.

Turns out that what I imagined was far, far worse than the reality of that childbirth experience, and of what being a parent would do to me, and to us. On that day, as with every day since, the blessings far outweighed the struggles.  And when you look at it that way, we should be ok again.

But I really, really wish that well-meaning friend had not said that.

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