I knew parenting would be an exhilarating adventure. I knew it would touch my heart. I knew it would, in so many ways, be the most demanding and rewarding position. But until I became a mother I never grasped the extent of outrageous possibilities, life changing lessons, and crazy experiences.
Though I was aware that privacy would definitely go to the wayside, I never knew I would go poo while a toddler piled toiletries on my lap. Or tried to force me aside to see. Or demanded to sit with me.
Though I was dreading the battle with food, I didn't comprehend the extent that one short little creature could make a widespread mess. I really could bathe her a few times a day and wash the floors every single day. But until becoming a mother I didn't fathom what I would be capable of letting slide. No one will notice the cottage cheese styling product. Wait, do you still have sauce in your eyebrows?
Though I have relatives who talk in their sleep, I never knew how entertaining it would be from my daughter. Frequent "Uh ohs" and animal sounds. The occasional "choo choo". Questions called out to the air and answers ignored if I decide to try to participate. Names proclaimed. Songs sung in part. Interesting combinations of all the above.
Though I knew toddlers get into everything, I never grasped the array of different items that would hold her inquisitive interest. Q-tips and oven mitts. The wipes dispenser and the Kleenex box. The broom and the vacuum. The shoe shelf and the dog dishes. The Tupperware and the cutlery. The tampons and the laundry basket. And all of these items are so treasured and important. Who needs to pay for toys? The difficult task is when we both need the same item.
Though I'd witnessed many times the gibberish of little aliens being understood completely by their loved ones, I never comprehended the development of this communication-bond that helps me hear her constant new words and phrases. The mystery is in the interpretation--trying to figure out why she is saying something. Like today she was repeating, "Uh oh, hat," and I finally noticed the girl on the next swing had dropped her hat.
Though I expected her to follow everything I did and want to emulate me, I didn't foresee how much she would hear and witness. She has stuffed Kleenex in her shirt because mommy did. She has already washed herself while eagerly commenting on each body part. She has copied snippets of conversations I didn't even know she overheard. She loves to stir with a spoon. She loves to boss around the dogs. She loves to crouch down with camera in hand to get a good angle and call out cheese to take a picture. She uses so many words appropriately when she obviously is just following our lead yet still lacks comprehension. Like today. As she walked on the cement barriers and said repeatedly, "Don't fall! Slippery!" did she actually comprehend the word slippery?
Though I longed to hear the title "mommy", I never anticipated all the different tones the word could encompass. The loving, sweet call just confirming my dependable presence. The summoning beckon as she awakes alone from nap. The nagging, and frequent, begging approach to calling my "name". The use of the word when she has a need and doesn't know how to express it, even if it is dad she wants-- "Mommy, Daddy, Mommy, Daddy". And best of all, the amorous caress of her voice as she calls to her dearest companion. Mommy.
Though I knew she would make me proud, I never foresaw the overwhelming elation I would feel for every little milestone and accomplishment. I want to gladly share it with everyone. Show videos and pictures. Talk about her every day. Laugh at her antics and boast of her growth.
She's my whole world. She has transformed my world. I never knew the extent she would bring out the best and worst of me. And I am unable to foretell of the interaction we will have in the future. The misunderstandings we will develop. The joy we will share. The mountains we will overcome.
What a satisfying adventure.