Thursday, September 3, 2015

Unexpected


Somewhere along the way, whether it was before I was born or since I've been living, I feel like I developed an aversion to the idea that we are to expect the unexpected in life. When people solicit this advice I usually nod and then convince myself that it doesn't apply to me because, dammit, I'm prepared. 

I took the parenting classes. I made an earthquake kit. I read a hundred and twelve stories about giving birth. I check the weather report. I tell people what I want for Christmas. 

And yet, it's always, always just like they say: the only thing you can depend on in life is that it's unpredictable. Dammit. 

I think the other truth I need to come to terms with is that life knows what I need better than I do and these things are usually turned loose just when I think I have it figured out. But one of my favorite things to do is ride wild ocean waves and one of my favorite people is a baby, so maybe I've misunderstood my own enjoyment of unpredictable things after all. 

Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia clothing, says "When everything goes wrong, that's when the adventure starts," and I love that line because it reminds me that unexpected setbacks bring good things. 

Even though I took a class about breastfeeding it still took me seven weeks to figure it out. Week five I was in my OB's office tearing up and nodding while she said "You are frustrated because you expected to better at this because you prepared." But then week eight came and I fed my daughter peacefully in the cotton candy colored morning light while the south wind gently blew the curtains and wind chimes around. That moment felt more significant, but similar to that time I got a B- in College Algebra after months of tutoring. I was a hero in my own small story. 

When he asked me how motherhood was, I told our friend Dave that it was the hardest thing I've ever loved. It's true. I wouldn't give up this much sleep or this many waves for almost anything else. And what's hardest of all about parenthood to me is how unpredictable it is. You can't see what's ahead. There isn't really a schedule. There is no map. There is no stopping.

As erratic as my now two month old daughter is, I am figuring out her rhythms. I got her to start sleeping through the night the same week nursing her finally started to seem as magical as it did in the videos shown in the class I took. I am rediscovering my love for trying to put the untamable ocean beneath my feet, even if I bang my knee on the deck of my board every time I stand up lately.

In the end, or at least for today, I've settled on the idea that life is good because it answers questions you didn't think to ask, presents you with problems you didn't prepare for and turns you into a stronger person than you probably meant to be.

25 comments:

  1. This is gorgeous.

    Nursing took 7 weeks for us to figure out too, and I can say those were 7 of the hardest weeks of my life. You're awesome for sticking it through.

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    1. I remember reading on your blog that you thought breastfeeding was harder than giving birth and I couldn't believe it at the time, but now I just might, maybe agree. Not as exhausting, but definitely more mentally taxing. You are awesome for sticking with it too!

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  2. What a thoughtful post. I'm glad you're happy with breastfeeding now, it's a wonderful thing indeed. And how wonderful that Avalon sleeps through the night, I'm most impressed with this. I think mine took about three or four years before they slept through a whole night! I struggle with unexpected things as well, they make me nervous. But of course you're right, sometimes they are an adventure and sometimes they are amazing. And they'll keep on coming whether we like it or not. Love that last photo, it looks like a very blissful moment. Wishing you a good weekend. CJ xx

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    1. I could eat my words with the sleeping thing. For now it's through the night, but the unexpected might come to play in this circumstance too. Wishing you a good weekend as well CJ!

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  3. This is such an insightful post and I can so relate in a different way. While I do not have kids of my own, by marriage I now have three stepkids. And they are good kids but the past two months since I became their mom have been not at all what I expected. An adventure indeed.

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    1. That sounds really tricky, but I'm sure you are doing an amazing job Maria. If if the unexpected is inevitable, at least experience seems to make things a little less overwhelming.

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  4. You wise woman, you. I always love your words.

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  5. "hero in your own story" ...this is so true in so many lives....I enjoyed this post, even if I'm not a parent=)

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    1. I'm sure you have been in yours too!

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  6. Loved this post and the photos! You are rocking motherhood! If you ever have any questions please feel free to reach out to me. Joaquin is 8 months tomorrow and I feel like I have a lot of wisdom to share.

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    1. 8 months...bravo! I am finding I always have more questions. Thanks for offering to help!

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  7. I always love coming to this space and reading your thoughts, Devon. I don't think I can ever say that enough! Your words stick with me long after I've finished the post, and I think about them often. Reading your words about what to expect with motherhood has been more helpful in some ways than the other books I've read:) I'm trying to keep this thought of embrace the unexpected in my mind now as I sit here waiting for Roo to make her big debut. I'm already handing over the controls:) Hope you're having a great day and that you have a great weekend, too!

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    1. Thank you so much Kari! I've been thinking of you often!

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  8. This whole post is great, but that last paragraph is my favorite. So true.

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  9. My most favorite post EVER. You could have written this for all of us...mom or not...it's a perfect truth in every word. Thank you for this!

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    1. Thank you Megan! That is so thoughtful and means so much!

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