When I was trying to get pregnant, I spent all day on the internet searching out daycares, researching the school district. As I agonized over childcare for my future daughter (or so I thought), I was tense and frustrated. One day, my friend asked me, right in the middle of a bout of panic, if I was pregnant yet. I wasn’t. “So why are you driving yourself crazy now?!” He asked, in a tone that seriously implied I was taking him with me.
The answer? Because I always live ten steps ahead of now. That probably wasn’t a reasonable response, though.
My husband, Ismael, isn’t a planner. I once asked him where he saw himself in five years and he shrugged. SHRUGGED! Who does that?! That’s ridiculous! Except, in some ways, I envy him, because it has often made him the smarter of the two of us.
There are some things you just can’t plan.
When my son, Logan, was born, it was after thirty-six hours of labor and an emergency C-section – that I never planned. I never planned on Logan having colic. I never planned on not being able to breastfeed. I never planned on postpartum depression.
I planned on the opposite of all of those things and so, when it came time to face facts, my world was completely shaken up. If there was anything Logan did when he arrived it was crash through every preconceived notion I had. Motherhood, for me, came with more pain than my complicated labor. I didn’t take well to it at first and my life constantly felt like a car speeding along on the freeway with faulty brakes.
Ismael, the non-planner, took to fatherhood with grace and dignity. He was able to handle every curveball with a tired shrug, after which he plowed forward and went about the business of being the best, most active and involved father I’ve ever met. No surprise was too great and though he was very stressed, he didn’t fall apart the way I did. Because he didn’t plan. He knew that having a baby was going to be a crazy time for us. He knew there was no road map. So he didn’t try to pave his own path through the wilderness. He just waited to see what the road would look like and walked it once he’d gotten there.
That isn’t to say you shouldn’t plan at all. It wasn’t like Ismael would have left the child without a crib or a nursery. We were ready for Logan’s arrival and not all of that preparation was me. It’s one thing to draw a map in pencil and it’s another to draw it in permanent marker.
Allow me to put my permanent marker into my pocket so we can talk about this some more. Guess which I do?
This concept applies to anything and I’m still trying to figure out how to apply it to the other aspects of my life. But I guess when I boil it down to the simplest form it would have to be, don’t expect much. Make a plan, but don’t expect that plan to be perfect and true at all times. Expect it to mess up. Expect to have to make a contingency plan. You may not get that first book published. You may not get that job you want. You may not graduate when you want to. You may have to change up your road map a bit along the way.
So, try to put away the permanent marker. Try to learn the lesson that I learned from raising Logan: pencil, even washable marker, but never, NEVER a Sharpie. You may need to change something and you’ll never get those Sharpie marks out of his clothes. I promise you that.