Hard to believe it’s been sixteen years since I found myself trussed up like a prize turkey. Scratch that…it was more like pit row of a NASCAR race. Nurses were throwing iodine around like it was holy water, an IV line was being gouged into one arm, a blood pressure cuff was choking the life out of the other, and the doctor was at least elbow deep all up in my business when he exclaimed, “What the hell is that?”
I’m here to tell you that those aren’t exactly words of comfort for a soon-to-be mother! Especially one who just stopped by the office for a quick check-in before the big 4th of July holiday weekend. I even left the car running so the ice cream from the grocery store wouldn’t melt. #3 wasn’t due for a couple more weeks when she decided to make her entrance into the world. Scratch that…she changed her mind. That child was wedged up inside me in a cheerleader heel stretch, about as cockeyed as a baby could get. Now, Gentle Reader, don’t get jealous when I tell you the next part: I didn’t have a single labor pain. They knocked my butt out and placed #3 in a bassinet in a matter of minutes. I paid my dues later on, though, when #3 took her terrible two phase all the way to six. I wish I was exaggerating.
With multiple reassurances that her leg would quit flying up beside her head if we swaddled her tightly for a few days—this came from the same nurse who taught me the magical properties of cabbage leaves, so I totally trusted her—we took the baby home in an adorable yellow onesie with coordinating banana-printed britches. Hers is my favorite birthing story of the bunch!
Fast-forward 16 years and #3 now has a banana-colored vehicle to mark her next big entrance into the world. Her first solo destination was her grandparents’ house, just a mile or two away. Bless her heart, she got that vehicle wedged between our other cars, about as cockeyed as a driver can get. Her textbook three-point turn morphed into about a fifteen-point turn before she made it safely out of the driveway and onto the –deep breaths, Mom—actual road.
People (the older ones) always tell you how fast the time goes…how one minute they’re in banana britches and the next they’re out the door having their own adventures. People (the older ones) always tell you how you’ll see the best and worst of yourself in them. How you’ll get back every ounce of misery and joy you gave your parents plus interest.
It’s hard to appreciate the sheer magnitude of parenthood when you’re elbow deep in potty training, epic meltdowns, or driving lessons. It’s hard to slow down enough to enjoy the agony and the ecstasy of those moments piled one up on the other and buckled up tight. People (the older ones) know what they’re talking about. They’ve been there, simultaneously cheering us on and shaking their heads as that great wheel of time churns onward. It’s a deceptive wheel that feels painstakingly slow while it races at the speed of life.