I was congratulating two friends of ours the other night that had just announced that they were expecting their first child. I texted them:
“Congratulations! Being a parent is “
And then I stopped.
I didn’t know what word to use that would best describe the experience of becoming a new parent. What seemed like a hundred words instantly flashed in my head:
- Unlike anything else
I’m sure you can come up with even more.
Really, how can you possibly describe how you feel as a new parent in a word or two?
How can you explain that when you watch your baby fall asleep in your arms and snuggle deeper into your chest, you feel as though your heart might burst with love right out of your chest?
How do you explain that after being unable to calm your child’s uncontrollable crying, it’s likely you could dissolve into tears yourself and throw a pacifier down the hallway in a rampant fit of frustration at your inability to soothe them, at your child for being un-soothable, and at yourself for being mad at your kid, and that’s okay?
How do you explain that when you ARE able to comfort them and stop their tears, you feel like the World’s Most Invincible SuperParent?
How do you explain that, from this point forward, every news story involving the death of a child will make you sick to your stomach, and bring up feelings of “what if that would have been my child?”
How do you explain that watching your child learn a new skill fills you with simultaneous pride at their intelligence and growth, and sadness at how fast it’s going by?
How do you explain that you spend your time wishing and waiting for the next milestone to be achieved, but once it’s here, you find yourself longing for the old days?
How do you explain, that from the very second that baby is placed in your arms, you would do anything you could to protect them from feeling sadness or hurt for one second of their life, and that you would die before you let anything happen to them?
How do you explain the fact that some nights you start a countdown to bedtime in your head, but once they’re asleep, you miss them?
How do you explain the fact that some days can only be described as being in a chaotic, frustrating hell storm (see previous post), and you’ll wonder what the hell has happened to you, but in the end, you will still think it’s all worth it?
How do you explain the awe that comes from realizing that you created an actual HUMAN BEING from two tiny cells, and said human being is now advanced enough to throw food to his puppy and giggle about it?
How do you explain to them the unconditional love that they will have for their own tiny human?
How do you explain that not a day will go by that you won’t constantly question yourself and your instincts?
How do you explain the sense of adoration that comes from your baby beaming at you and jumping with happiness when you go into their room to get them out of bed in the morning?
How do you explain that your life is never the same, but you’d never want it back (permanently!) in a million years?
How do you explain that you’ll never feel more frazzled or tired, but that you’ll be amazed how your body just keeps going?
How do you explain that their little laughter is the best sound ever, capable of curing all bad moods and sadness?
How do you explain that nothing in your life will bring you more joy?
I finished my text.
“Being a parent is exhilarating.”