July 29, 2008

I'm Glad No One Told Me...

...what real responsibility meant. Bills, rent, insurance, health care, paying for you own gasoline, groceries, incidentals (like that pint of Ben & Jerry's you simply MUST have in your eighth month of pregnancy but you know will live you semi-broke for a few days), vehicle upkeep, haircuts, the cost of shampoo, and I could go on forever. I never understood until the last few years just how hard my parents had it and how hard it must have been to tell me "no" as often as they did. When you're a kid, you assume that because your parents have a job, they have money. "I just saw you buy $80.00 worth of groceries, woman, I know you have money!! Don't tell me you can't shell out $20.00 for me to go to the movies!" I feel really bad about that. If I'd known just how hard being an adult meant, I may have stayed in college forever! I'd be SRU's Van Wilder.

...that marriage took real work. You make a decision every day to be with your spouse, to make compromises, to never go to bed angry, to try to see things his way even though you know you never will, and most importantly, you make the decision to see an endless amount of tomorrows with that person. You love them, there's no question in that. But it's not always sunshine and roses and eventually the honeymoon is over.

...that when you move into an apartment complex, about three months after you move in the property company will inevitably decide to renovate/repaint/refurbish and when it's time to sign a new lease, your rent will have gone up $100. Just a word to the wise. Oh, and they'll promise you new carpet but you'll end up with the shit-brown, matted-down, ten-years-old-looking carpet that four families have traipsed over. Buy a steam cleaner before you move in.

...that childbirth will be the single most painful experience of your life unless the doctors are kind enough to let your epidural run through the birth. I was not so fortunate. With my first, I had a good strong epi until I hit transition (about 7 cm) and then they let it run out. I know, right?! I felt every inch of her big noggin pushing through like a cannonball through a garden hose. With my second, I asked for my epidural at 5 cm, which is where I was at when I was admitted. I didn't see an anesthesiologist until I was about 7 cm who asked me the same set of questions THREE TIMES before deciding I was good to go for an epidural. I was at 9 goddamn cm before they attempted to sit me up and insert it - liek that was going to happen. You know what she said when she got it in? "There we go. I think that's right." [brief dramatic pause] YOU THINK???? Shouldn't there be a set of criteria that would differentiate between "is right" and "isn't right?" This is what I get for going with an HMO.

...that if you don't want to go with an HMO for your health care, be prepared to shell out large amounts of money. We weren't prepared to do that, so we went with an HMO. Most of our care is decent, especially where the kids are concerned. I love the pediatrics department. But our doctors? The revolving-door office we go to should we fall ill? We might be better off going to a public health clinic. They don't listen to you, they look bored, and they automatically turn to prescriptions no matter what you're ailment. You know something is wrong with you but instead of investigating further, they take one look at an x-ray and declare you "just fine." You never really get better and eventually, it comes back to haunt you six months later. Just ask my husband.

...that babies will produce liquids and odors that are not to be believed. Spit-up, vomit, poop, enough drool to irrigate the fields off Highway 1, you'll see (and smell) it all. As a result of all these fluids, you will never own a nice shirt again. Said liquids will find their way to the front of your shirt leaving a very noticeable stain. If you plan on wearing a particular shirt to a nice event at any point during its life with you, stay at least ten feet away from all children under the age of 13 while you're wearing it.

What do I wish someone had told me?

...That life gets better with age. You get better with age. You learn more, you see more, and you experience more both in life and in emotion. That you'll experience a love that will make your heart want to burst every time you look at your children. That marriage, in spite of its trials, will only improve if tended to like a rose garden. Don't let weeds clutter your life. See the forest for the trees. Understand that while you're busy being disappointed that someone has changed, you've changed too.

...that you should hug your kids every chance you get because as they get older, they'll want to hug you less. They won't love you less, but they'll show it in different ways. Realize that kids will say hurtful things but that they don't understand the impact of their words.

...to remember that life is far too short and that you should embrace every opportunity to talk to your elders. They have perspective and wisdom far beyond our years. Thank you, Denise, for reminding me of that. Your family is the most important asset you have. Whether it's the family you have inside your four walls or you're spread out over the world, they're the ones who'll be there for you when all else goes wrong. Please keep them close. A lot of my family has...drifted away. Or maybe it's because I moved to the left coast. I don't know. But they know who they are and I wish they'd keep in touch. I feel abandoned by them and it hurts. So please heed my advice and keep your family close.

...to live every day like it's your last. Laugh, hug, smile and enjoy the world around you. We only get to go around once (unless you believe in "Transcendentalism!!!!" - inside joke for fellow classmates of Donna Baker's English class) and you should make the most of your time here.

Thanks for indulging me. I still have a lot to learn in life but as I approach 30 - yes, I know I'm not 29 yet, but trust me when I say that 30 will sneak up on you - I feel like I've learned a LOT and I've learned most of it in the last five years. So take what you can from this!

And now, a funny video to lighten the mood.



Valeta said...

Yeah. I heart this post.

Kemit is great.

The Mom said...

You have written this so wonderfully, so powerfully, like so many of us moms feel, but much more eloquently than I could ever put it! The Muppets on the end of the post just make it that much better!!

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