When K was pregnant with J we consistently got two pieces of advice: 1. Get as much sleep as you can before the baby comes and 2. Go out to eat because it’ll be a while before you can again. We got lots of sleep and we ate out but here’s the thing, you can’t store sleep and we went out to eat not too long after she was born. I think the most useful advice anyone could have given us is to just let go. Let go of the idea that you’ll be getting a full night’s sleep because you won’t, at least not for a while, and you’ll be fine. Let go of spontaneity of your choosing because this pooping and crying creature has their own ideas. Like that last minute decision to take a little day trip up north that was interrupted because the baby wouldn’t stop crying for the first 20 minutes of the drive so you turned around. There will be spontaneity but that’ll be of the baby’s choosing. Let go of control. You don’t control how long your baby’s hair is going to stick up no matter how cute it is. Let go of things. That sleeper you bought because it’s so adorable, yup, she outgrew it in a week. Oh, and that favorite pair of jeans of yours, yeah she just pooped all over them when she blew out her diaper. Letting go of late night dinners out or going to concerts during the week. Letting go of some of the things you thought defined who you were before the baby.
But here’s the thing, you’re letting go of some things to welcome in the possibility of much more wonderful things. That TV show I would have watched is now replaced with trying to make my daughter laugh so hard she throws up, which I’ve done and resulted in me being equally proud and grossed out. The quiet time in the morning where I eat a bowl of cereal and catch up on the news has been replaced with singing made up songs to J. Those concerts at night, well let’s just say now I much prefer holding a sleeping baby than standing on my feet for hours as drunk people push by.
All of those things that I’m giving up now will come back slowly but as they do I’ll be letting go of other things…things that will be harder to let go of. That quiet in the morning will be because we just got home from taking her to school for the first time. The television show I’m watching will be because she’s out with friends or, heaven forbid, a date and finds them to be more interesting than she finds me to be. Spontaneous trips will be because she’s all grown up and out of the house at college or working on the other side of the country.
The more I think about it the more I realize the letting go never ends. Now excuse me while I go home, put some product in J’s hair to make it stick up again, and refuse to stop hugging her.