Monday, April 5, 2010

On the Job Training

"In spite of the six thousand manuals on child raising in the bookstores, child raising is still a dark continent and no one really knows anything. You just need a lot of love and luck - and, of course, courage." - Bill Cosby

There's just no denying it - there is a baby growing inside my belly... getting bigger and bigger everyday. In about 4 months, my husband and I will be parents. We can't run, we can't hide, we can't push some magical pause button to stop the process. So with the inevitable reality looming ahead, that classic nagging question continues to tug at my sleeve: "Can you handle this?"

It is a comfort to me to hear so many voices echoing one solid truth about parenting: no one really has it all figured out, and they never will. Now, that might not seem like the confidence-inspiring pre-game pep talk in the locker room of Momhood but I find it to be a very positive sentiment. To me, it's not a garauntee of failure, but rather a solicitation for success.

Fortunately, I have been blessed enough to have some quality "on the job training." In my time out here in Steubenville, OH, I've gotten very close with a very big family. Jen and Bob Rice have six amazing kids: John - 11, Kolbe - 9, Bobby - 7, Ellie - 5, Maria and Joseph - 2. Rocky and I have been put in charge of these kids many, many times. The good news is, whether it's been just one kid or all of them, we have totally been able to handle it! Now, don't get me wrong, there have been tantrums, meltdowns, injuries, and a whole myriad of other crises to deal with. The important thing is, we've taken each problem as it's come, tried not to get overwhelmed, and never given up.

One thing is for sure, I need my husband! I can't even imagine trying to raise a child by myself. I mean, I can handle the logistics of taking care of kids: dinners, games, chores, bedtime, etc. but at the end of the day, I'm emotionally drained and just having Rocky's arms there to fall into is exactly what I need. It's even better when he's able to help out with watching the kids and we can tag-team the whole operation.

Childcare is no walk in the park, that's for sure, but in a way, I feel uniquely prepared for parenthood. No, we don't even remotely have it all figured out, but the one thing we do have figured out is good enough for me: yes, we can handle this. I know we're going to make mistakes and come up against dilemmas we can't even conceive of at this point, but we have confidence on each other and our abilities... and ya know, we make a pretty darn good team.

In the end, the most essential capability we will need is that of love. I know it might sound a little syrupy but I know it's the truth. With the joy of Easter in my heart, I am certain that the theme of Christ's Passion, Death and Resurrection is love. I won't launch into a theological tangent here, but I can simply say that if the most important message our Lord has for us is Love, then I put my trust in it. That divine Love will brighten our most joyous celebrations, and strengthen us during our darkest struggles.

Love is the soul of our family, and as long as we remeber that, I think we'll be alright.

May the joy of Easter be with you and your families. He is Risen! Alleluiah Alleluiah!

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