Motherhood is full of surprises.
I never knew that it was possible to survive, never mind function, on so little sleep. Angie has always been a great sleeper, so I foolishly assumed Emmy would be the same. Boy, was I wrong! Even in the hospital that first night, the nurses brought her from the nursery to my room because she wouldn’t sleep without me. I never knew I would be able to fall asleep on a hard floor with my arm reaching up into the cot. I never knew I would treasure the closeness of holding my baby close even as I wished she would just go back to sleep already.
I never knew how entertaining my children would be. I’m not talking about the actual singing and dancing performances they put on for us, but the funny things they do and say without even realising it. Words used in the wrong context, mispronunciations, Angie’s attempts to speak Afrikaans, Emmy’s nonsense speech as she reads to us.
I never knew I would sit through Frozen and Tangled and Brave countless times without losing my mind. I never knew that a programme I loved as a child would be so annoying as an adult. (I’m looking at you, Gummi Bears.) I never knew how many princess branded T-shirts a little girl could own at any given time, or just how pink and purple my laundry loads would be.
I never knew how precious the simple touch of a child’s hand on my cheek would be, or how arms wrapped around my waist would make me feel so special. I never knew how little girl giggles would lighten my heart and bring a smile to my face.
I never knew it was possible to love a person before I’d ever even met her, and how much more I would love her after she was finally placed in my arms. I never knew how I would feel that same love all over again the second time around.
I never knew how delightful it would be to watch personalities emerge and how exciting it would be to witness all the firsts – smiles, laughs, steps, words. I never knew how frightening some of the other firsts would be – fevers, projectile body fluids, head bumps.
I never knew how hard parenting would be, or how wonderful, and some days it still feels surreal that I am the mother of two children. How can they be almost three and five years old already; didn’t I bring them home from the hospital just yesterday?
What surprised you about parenthood?