Being pregnant, I can’t help but feel like I’m always standing on the edge. My toes curl around the rocky cliff I’m standing on, and I watch as tiny pebbles peel away from the landscape and cascade into the unknown.
I’m waiting to leap; to fly, with the wind on my back.
But when the time comes, I’ll probably cough on my own saliva, hesitate, look behind me, and take one tiny step– a shuffle really.
Because I’m scared.
I’ve done this before, twice even. Babies are easy. It’s what happens after they’re babies that terrifies me.
Berlyn is five, and that’s where my knowledge on children ends. I don’t yet know about wiggly teeth, slumber parties, sex talks, and boyfriends, periods, and bras.
I don’t know the argument, “but, all my friends are doing it.” I don’t know about homework, parent signatures, summer camps, or skateboarding ramps.
I don’t know what I’d say about dying hair, or writing on jeans, painting nails black, or wearing clothes with well placed holes.
I know potty training, baby food, breast milk, and tricycles. I know car seats, strollers, diapers, crayons, and bath time.
I can do the baby stage, toddlers are fine, precious even, preschool age is a joy, but beyond that I don’t know. It’s the edge of the universe and all I can hear is the whirling of comets whizzing by my head, and the fizzy sounds of magnetic bubbles popping.
Then it’s quiet, and it’s just my thoughts…
What if I’m not good at being a parent of a school aged child? And now I have to do it three times? What if I’m too harsh when they need me to be gentle? What if I don’t point out a defining teachable moment? What if I make brownies and I was supposed to bring cupcakes, or I don’t get along with PTA mommies?
Although, I do find rest knowing that these things don’t happen overnight. I’m not going to wake up tomorrow and suddenly Berlyn wants to start dating and get her nose pierced, and Hudson’s not going to want a motorcycle, and a pair of leather pants (Oh, God please don’t give my children any desire for leather pants, they are unflattering on everybody–that means you too, Heidi Klum).
Before all that they’re going to want to run in the sprinklers, and they’ll let me hug them in public, and they will blow on dandelions, and sneak cookies.
And I’ll watch over them and I’ll smile, I’ll take too many pictures, and mentally try to remember the smell of play-doh hands, and sandy feet. And they’ll learn to be children, and tie laces, eat too many goldfish crackers, and do the things that children do. They’ll run so fast that all I can see is a flash of color and a stream of hair, and then I’ll tackle them to the grass and tickle their faces, because those are my faces, and my ears will overflow with the sounds of their giggles, then it will get quiet, and in that moment, the edge doesn’t seem as scary.