I’m sitting at my desk typing this post almost exactly 10 years to the minute after giving birth to my first child. She came into the world, reluctantly and with the help of a pair of forceps, at 1:57am on April 27th, 2002. It seems cliche to say that everything changed after that moment, but of course it’s true. I was 25 years old, and looking back on it, I didn’t know much.
When I was in second grade, I wrote an autobiography and lamented that, as the oldest child, I was the victim of my parents’ inexperience. As you can probably imagine, I’ve never lived that down. But it resonated like never before when I became a mother, and realized that now it was my daughter’s turn to suffer. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes, but then this brilliant, beautiful child overwhelms me with her vitality, her imagination, and her sense of humor. So I imagine I must be doing OK (just like my parents, by the way).
After Audrey was born, people tried to warn me: it goes really fast. But in the thick of things, with spit-up in my hair and a donut pillow under my behind, I never believed it. Every day seemed to take an eternity, and I was just trying to make it from one feeding to the next. But time is a snowball rolling downhill, and it just keeps gathering speed. Of course it’s not over for me yet, not by a long shot. And the years ahead will probably be more challenging than the years before. But 10 years have passed in the blink of an eye, and now I’m painfully aware that if I blink once more my kids will be all grown up.
You see, there’s a woman lurking inside my daughter, and more and more often, I’m catching glimpses of her. This woman, she’s amazing — that much I know — but she’ll be here before I’m ready.
I’m not ready. I’ll never be ready.
But it doesn’t matter if I’m ready or not, because she’s on her way and there’s no stopping her. So I’d better just make sure that Audrey, at least, is ready.