Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Little Homie

I don't know if I'm supposed to say this, you know because you're not supposed to be friends with your kids but the world is a significantly less lonely place now that Ellis is in it. Everything means something now. Even the most insignificant things mean something because they're not insignificant to her.

Before Ellis came I was subject to multiple existential crises a year, wherein I would lay on my bed, stare at the ceiling, avoid all my obligations because I couldn't remember why I was obligated to them, drink a lot of wine and smoke cigarettes because cigarettes and existential crises go well together. I have to say that ever since I met Ellis, I have been existentially sound. It's not that I'm living for her, it's just that I really want to hang out with her for as long as possible. Hopefully she'll be changing my diaper when I'm 105. Seriously though, if she needed to hire someone to change my diaper, I would totally understand. At any rate, even on the most dismal of days, when she has flung poo at my face I still find very substantial reasons to exist. It's like through her, I'm rediscovering the entire universe again, thinking about things that I haven't thought about in decades (mostly because I thought I had everything figured out). What am I going to tell her when she asks me, "Mommy, what is God?" Or "Mommy, how do faxes work?" I have no friggin' idea!

I think we choose our parents. I have no scientific data to back this up so don't ask me for details, I just think we do. Our parents really determine so much of our trajectory, so I freak out a little when I think that Ellis chose me. It seems odd considering I wasn't thinking about having a baby at all. I always wanted children, but there was nothing about my behavior that was edging me toward that reality. I just sort of assumed it would happen someday. Low and behold.

The hardest part for me is that my reality doesn't at all resemble the picture I had in my head all these years. What I'm learning though, from all the parents who have embarked on this crazy odyssey before or alongside me is that nothing works out the way we think it will. Children are such brilliant teachers of this. I know "shit-show" is a relative term but that's what I am. I have no idea what I'm doing, 97% of time I'm shooting from the hip and hoping I'm not causing permanent psychological complications (it would be great if she didn't have to attend therapy until her 30s when she finds herself staring at the ceiling wondering what she's doing with her life). One of my favorite psychologists, when asked what her advice to new parents would be, said, "Keep them alive until they're 25." (p.s. 25 is significant because we now know that our frontal lobes, the parts of our brains that give us the ability to make sound decisions, does not actually finish developing until about the age 25.) While I plan on doing a hell of lot more than just keeping Ellis alive, this does take the pressure off a bit.

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