What if we had the presence of mind and the certainty of emotion to say fully what we really feel when someone comes to us with big news? What if–instead of the requisite “We’re so excited for you” (which is true but incomplete)–we answered with thoughtfulness and humor and grace and honesty and love and, you know, good grammar, too, y’all?

Take a pregnancy or adoption, for example. If only I could tell my expectant friends something useful to their journey. Something to provide context, understanding, hope, a touch of fear, and a healthy heaping of sappy encouragement.

Well, here goes:

I am selfishly happy that you will soon be subject to the same constraints as me, and therefore, will no longer be posting envy-inducing Facebook pictures of the two of you relaxing in some exotic locale or even random local bar with drinks and tans and unstained clothing.

I am amused that there will be (and I’m being conservative) a 400% increase in the number of your daily conversations that revolve around poop.

I am relieved that the things that currently seem like lame excuses for canceled plans, early bedtimes, cluttered houses, etc. will soon seem totally legit to you.

I am empathetic about those same things. That (temporarily, at least) your old life will come to a screeching halt and your new one, with baby, will touch down like a (joy-filled?) tornado.

I am filled with awe that two people can come together and make a conscious choice to bring another life into the world, to raise them, to care for them, to sacrifice sleep and comfort and money and time…just so those kids can one day break free and choose a life that’s best for them…maybe even something that is the polar opposite of what the two people who gave them life might have chosen.

Dudes: I’m feeling some serious solidarity and sympathy for what is sure to be a confusing time. Namely, your beautiful wife constantly lifting up her shirt and you not really being invited to the party.

I’m thankful someone other than me will be obsessively taking pictures of their baby and refusing to delete a single one even though there are, like, 30 pictures of the same thing from the same angle and half of them are blurry.

I am curious what your kid will be like. What size will his ears be? Will she walk or talk first? What books will he like? What dreams will she have? What weird, insightful things will come out of their mouths?

I am laughing because you have no idea what’s coming.

I am listening because parenting is really just a series of educated guesses based on your unique child and the stuff that’s already in your heart. And sometimes it’s hard to put down the books and trust yourself. And sometimes it just helps to talk with someone who’s been through the same thing or is still going through it.

I pity you. It’s not easy.

I envy you. It’s totally worth it. Even the early days.

But really, we’re so excited for you.

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