The truth is, I get it. I really do. She is a lot like me and, when I was younger, I could not wait to grow up. I was so anxious to leave the small town where I grew up, spread my wings, and assert my independence. I envisioned this carefree life with lots of friends, lots of freedom, and lots of fun doing whatever I wanted to do.
But, you know what?? Being a grown up, isn't all it's cracked up to be! Now, don't get me wrong - I know that I am blessed and I love my life (most of the time), but it is nothing like what I expected. I wish that, for just one day, my daughter could see life through my eyes; feel things the way I feel things. Actually, it would probably be great if I could go back in time and have my 15 year old self do the same thing.
Here are just a two of the biggest surprises that were awaiting me in adulthood:
Responsibility - Sure, I knew my parents had jobs and I knew we weren't monetarily rich, but we had everything we needed and then some, so I never really gave it much thought. Now, I do. Jobs, commitments, finances, and providing for my family (along with my husband) is a HUGE responsibility. Financially, we are far better off than many people. Just like when I was growing up, we are supremely blessed. This I know for sure and I try not to take it for granted, ever. But, we still cannot afford to do everything we want to do. We have to prioritize, and plan, and budget and, sometimes, say "No." We have to make sure there is food on the table, clothes on our backs, and that the bills are all paid. When I was younger, I'm not sure where I thought I was going to get the money for all the things I wanted to do. I knew I would need a job, but I never gave the finances much thought. As an adult, it is something I have to think about daily.
Every day, my to-do list seems to get longer and longer. We have a house and a car that need to be maintained. We have errands to run, jobs to go to, meetings to attend, and people to take care of (including ourselves). It is truly never-ending. And, it can be exhausting.
Responsibility goes far beyond money and chores, though. I have three kids. Along with my husband, I am responsible for their safety, their education, their health. I am responsible for teaching them morals and ethics. I am responsible for disciplining them and for enriching them. It is up to us to nurture them and turn them into good, productive members of society. There is NO responsibility in the world that can compare to or prepare you for parenthood. None.
Love - I love my parents and my only brother. This is, of course, very different, though, from the love I feel for my husband. I never dated much before my husband and can't say that I have ever been "in love" with anyone else. I met him when I was 19. It was not love at first sight, but it is a love that has grown and deepened immensely over the years. We've been married for the past 15 years and I absolutely cannot imagine my life without him. It is a love that I cherish, but one that I was never able to fathom when I was younger.
As the rhyme goes, first comes love, then comes marriage. . . . Then comes motherhood. I always knew I wanted to be a mom. Always. When I was younger, though, I didn't know this:
No matter what kind of childhood you had; no matter how much your parents loved you; no matter how snuggly and affectionate they were, there is simply no way to describe the love you will feel for your own child(ren).
It's kind of like this. Imagine the best food you ever ate. Maybe it's a cheeseburger, or pizza, or cheesecake, or apple pie. Whatever it is - picture it; taste it. Now describe that to someone else. Can you do it? Can you describe it in a way that makes them salivate as they can all but taste it on the tip of their tongue? My guess is no. No matter how hard you try, it is impossible to make them truly understand the experience. Even if you use the most beautiful, eloquent, and descriptive words, they will not be able to actually taste the food you describe.
As a parent, the love you feel for your child(ren) is powerful and all encompassing. It is stronger than anything you can imagine and, therefore, there is simply no way to describe it in a way that allows someone else who has not experienced it to fully understand it. I certainly didn't.
Although I always wanted to be a mom, I absolutely did not expect how much I could love another human being (or three of them!).
As a grown up, I have experienced emotions deeper than I ever knew were possible when I was younger. Some of them are not good, but most of them are wonderful! None of them were on my list of "what to expect from being a grown up!" I suppose looking forward to the perceived freedom of being an adult is natural, but as they say, hindsight is 20/20. I hope my daughters will take time to soak in their childhoods. I hope they will have at least some appreciation for the innocence and carefree nature of their lives at this stage. I hope they don't wish it away anticipating bigger, better things that may or may not come to them when they grow up.
When they do grow up, I hope they find that David and I have prepared them well for the responsibilities and challenges they will face. I hope they experience love the way I have experienced love. And, I hope they always know that our love for them will be there whenever they need it because we will forever be their parents - even when they are all grown up!
P.S. Mom and Dad, I cannot adequately express my appreciation for all you taught me, all you did for me, and how much you loved me when I was younger. Like most kids, I didn't get it then, but I certainly do now. I hope I am giving my girls the same - I am definitely trying my best!
This post is part of Finish The Sentence Friday. FTSF is hosted by some wonderful blogging ladies. Please give them a visit and check out all the other blogs that participate as well!
Janine at Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic
Stephanie at Mommy, for Real
Kristi at Finding Ninee
This week's special guest host is Sarah from Left Brain Buddha!