September 5, 2013 by Katia
I don’t have a magic wand and that’s just fine. Magic wands are not the way things are supposed to happen. I’ve read between the lines of enough children’s books to understand that principle, but had I been offered a magic wand about two and a half years ago, I’m afraid I wouldn’t hesitate for a second and snatch it. I also know exactly what I’d be asking for. It would be the same thing I was asking my substitute magic wands for in my prayers and meditations, simultaneously grading myself on my “meaning it” level, the same thing I was asking for at the fertility and acupuncture clinics back when I was broken.
My expectation- defying One Year Old, I’ve been trying to write you a letter ever since your birthday last month to explain just how much you mean to me, but I can’t seem to find the words to meet my own expectations and I worry that I won’t meet yours. I know that just like your brother, 4 Year Old, you too will be looking for reassurance on your significance one day. Would you accept my explanation that my love for you is as all encompassing as my love for your brother, therefore I need two hearts and lucky me, I have them, one for each of you, or will you be giving me the same skeptical look I get from your brother?
If I said something like” I was learning from you since before we’ve even met” or that “you taught me so much about what I’m capable of” besides sounding incredibly corny would it make you feel burdened with a sense of responsibility for me? Would you develop unrealistic expectations of yourself, or maybe you’re used to them by now?
Are kids and expectations as inseparable as motherhood and guilt?
I’m inventorizing my expectations of you and I come to realize that expectations preceded and urged you. First the ultimate expectation. For an entire year every month we were expecting that you materialize from a wish into reality. Expecting you. Expecting of you. That’s a huge responsibility, I know. Had I gotten my magic wand I wouldn’t have learned from you that I could survive a year of limbo and a crashed heart. I wouldn’t know that I’m strong. Thank you for showing me that.
I scroll down my inventory list and realize that so many assumptions we were making were based on expectations, although we would probably never define them as such. They just seem too trivial and mundane. Camouflaged expectations. We expect of our baby to sleep in a bassinette! – dream big, right? We did buy a brand new bassinette for you, assuming, expecting, never questioning that you may have other preferences than your brother, deciding instead to curl up against us in our own bed. We’ve disposed of the overworked bouncy chair defeated into submission and shape shifting by your brother’s extra pounds, for the sake of a new one that you would cry the minute we tried putting your 15th percentile two weeks early self into. Thank you for introducing that “sibling diversity” into our little family unit, I was so curious about this as an only child.
I never had any expectations as to what you would look like. I would have been good with anything. I wanted you to look like Ben at the exact same time wanting you to surprise me and not to. That dimple on its own, the single dimple of your right cheek, would have been enough to make me fall hopelessly in love with you, but you had to grow these dark curls too. A bitter lifelong battle with my own curls anything but prepared me for feeling so elated at the sight of curls. I never expected that.
I should know better by now. Isn’t parenting all about expecting the unexpected? Which one of my blogging friends was it who wrote recently that children will surprise you and never in the ways that you expect them to?
The road to you, Daniel, was not easy and I wasn’t expecting to travel it for quite that long. I was expecting to get a baby out of it. But when I look at you now, the embodiment of all that is cute in a baby, I can see past the sparkle in your eyes the toothy grin, chubby toes and the funniest curls ever. I see someone who took that long and arduous road and arrived with me. I see my fellow traveller.
This post was a Finish The Sentence Friday post on the topic: If I had a magic wand…
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