To my young, sweet, innocent children—
I wanted to write you today to tell you something. To sort of give you a heads up.
One day you’re going to be an adult. And one day you’re going to wake up and realize something about me—you’ll find out my secret.
Suddenly it will all click and you’ll think:
Wow. She has totally been winging it this whole time.
You may feel cheated, or maybe you’ll be impressed. You may think things like, I can’t believe I was so naive or Ahh yes I get it now. Maybe even something like, Dang, I must bow down to this master of trickery. (Yes, probably this one…)
I’m not sure exactly when it will hit you—maybe in college or maybe when you have children of your own. But no matter what, even whether you have kids or not, it will happen—I will have been found out.
Now, before you get mad at me because you feel like I’ve pulled a fast one on you—let me explain. I am just trying to survive, trying to get all the things done, trying to take care of all the people—basically, I am trying to do everything humanly possible to raise you right.
And honestly, I have been winging it since 1986.
If you think I had any idea what I was doing when I played CYO basketball, you’re wrong. I was tall, my dad taught me how to box out—and the rest? I was winging it.
That math test in 10th grade? Sorry, Mrs. Becker, I didn’t study—I was winging it. That paper junior year of college? Sorry Professor Nichols—I was winging it. First kiss? Winged it. First drink? Winged it. First big work meeting? Winged it.
First time (and then, to be honest, my second and third times, too) at motherhood?
I was winging it on my first day of motherhood, and here I am today—winging it on my 1,607th day. When you come to this realization in another 15 years or so, I will still be winging it.
And let me tell you—as someone who has winged it for a LOT of things—there is nothing quite like the challenge of winging it at motherhood.
Like when you were so overtired but you wouldn’t fall asleep so I started singing “Keep Ya Head Up” and somehow the magic combination of Tupac’s lyrics plus bouncing plus rubbing your back at the same time plus saying a Hail Mary in my head got you to sleep? That was me winging the whole “figuring out what you need when you can’t tell me yourself” thing.
When you had a blowout diaper while we were on the go and I had to not only change you in the car but I also only had two wipes to use? And didn’t have a clean outfit in your size to put you in so your 7-month-old self wore your sister’s 2T pants and went topless for our ride home? That was me winging the whole “multiple kid” thing.
When you bust into my home office over and over because I don’t have a lock on my door, when I nurse the baby during virtual work meetings, when we lose our childcare for what feels like the millionth time and I have no idea what I’m going to do? That’s me winging the whole “working mom” thing.
When you asked me why people die and where do they go and what happens and when I’m old will I die and will we see each other again…and my response was a relatively calm on the spot combination of a faith-based answer with heaven and God involved along with a living-among-the-rainbows-and-clouds twist? That was me winging the whole “tough questions brought on by curious children” thing.
When each of you started breastfeeding and I was like, Ummm what is happening? And a little like Ouch? Is this supposed to hurt? so I then enlisted the help of a fellow mom and also lactation consultant sister and figured it out and then was like Wow this is actually pretty impressive. That was me winging the whole “new motherhood with the help of my village” thing.
Random questions about why outer space exists or why we go to bed when it’s still light out in the summer? I am 100% winging all of the answers. When we had to figure out what we were supposed to look for in a preschool for you, or when we had to figure out feelings around bringing a new baby home? Winging it and winging it and winging it well.
Why you may ask?
Well, to be honest, I’m just trying to figure out how to do all of this. I’m trying to figure out how to be a mom—every single day of my life. Because no one is born knowing how to be a parent. No one is born knowing the perfect answer to all the “whys.”
There are no instructions. It is a path that is well worn to others who have walked it in front of you, but it’s a path you have to pave for yourself when it’s your turn. You can learn from their direction, but like with lots of things in life, you just have to figure most of it out for yourself—as you go.
So, the jig is up. I have no clue what I am doing. But truthfully? That has made for the best adventure of my life: motherhood.
Thanks for being on this wild ride with me.