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They make you take it home

My son/firstborn turns 2 in a couple of weeks. Which absolutely blows my mind in the same way as if you told me I had a small fish living in the pipes underneath the kitchen sink.

We talk about parenting as if it's some sort of grand philosophical thing. We decide to become parents. We decide to not become parents. Parenting theories. Blah blah blah. If you're not a parent, it's completely alien, I promise. Ok, maybe not "alien." More like watching Congress work...how something can be so familiar yet so foreign.

Because what they don't tell you--what we don't talk about--is that in all the beautiful pregnancy and childbirth stories you hear...at the end, they make you take it home.

That's what has been sticking with me the last few days as I fall asleep at night or have a second away from the screaming tantrums to reflect. Regardless of one's view about "parenting," one doesn't usually think about parenting. (Unless you're a slightly existential-thinking SAHD blogger.) Rather, the overwhelming presence with you throughout your day is not the abstract.

No, they send you home with a real, live person. Well, maybe not right away. But, eventually, they start to crawl and head for the toilet paper to chew and the dog and turn into real personalities who like blueberries and turn-of-the-century Disney movies and enjoy climbing into your bed to rearrange all your pillows.

Each of my kids has one of those wonderful, amazing birth stories you can scrapbook, but as my son turns 2 I'm not really pausing on his version. What's with me instead is after all the pushing and delivery room crazy and his first bath, Kelly settled into her hospital room and I grabbed a blanket to sit in the chair next to her. We'd sent Cole to the nursery so we could try to get some sleep...and there was this weird feeling of being very aware that your life is never going to be the same.

That's what I keep coming back to. All the nonsense about "parenting" ignores the basic reality that you've just asked someone to come stay with you...indefinitely. Say, 18 years or so. And it could be hit or miss.

Day in and day out, I mostly just like having the little guy around. It's not so much about teaching him anything. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that 99% of my parenting involves me just hanging out with a cool guy I know (don't worry, Leda, you're turning into this cool chick I know, too).

I suppose, in some ways, that's because I chose to stay home and it does take a lot of pressure off. No stress of making magical moments or milestones "count." For the better part of 2 years now, I've just been spending some time watching him explore the world.

It's either the world's most boring or fascinating PBS documentary. You pick.

Happy Birthday, Colwyn!

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