About three years ago, I was enjoying an evening with girlfriends at my house.
On my lap sat my first-born — just months old — fat, contented to be snuggled and sleeping in the cradle of my folded legs on the couch.
I don’t remember what prompted it, or what the conversation really was at the time, but it had something to do with mothering — nervousness about having babies from my girlfriends who didn’t yet have children — and whatever it was encouraged me to say:
The good thing is: God knows we need a little practice. So he gives us a tiny baby that, really, I just have to change and feed and keep happy. And then, as my baby grows, so will I. And someday, I will be ready to be the mother of a preteen — and a teenager — and a college-bound young adult. But right now I don’t have to worry about that. Because me and this baby? We’re still both new at this.
And so I think it goes with parenting. Whenever I have the urge to get overwhelmed about what the future brings or teenage issues or [insert the multitude of parenting challenges throughout the years], I think: when I get there, I’ll be ready. I’m not ready right now because I’m not there yet.
I tend to think life was made for baby steps. For knowing that those first, stumbly, unbalanced steps are just as important as the strides that win the Olympics. And that’s how it’s meant to be.
And speaking of baby steps.