Give or take. These are modest estimates, and the numbers will only increase from here. I don’t make a report of them to make myself a martyr or to seek congratulations. I’m sure your numbers are similar if not higher. I whipped out my calculator today only to reflect a little and impart a lesson or two I’ve learn somewhere between 1 and 22,812.
If anyone had shown me these haunting numbers when I first started this job of wife and mother, I’m sure I would’ve needed a lot more coaxing to go through with it. Thankfully, no one did and I dove right in, head first, delighted at the prospect of making homemade stews in crock pots and getting to buy those teeny tiny diapers the size of men’s wallets. (I still revel in buying size one diapers, by the way. Never gets old.)
The fact is, I would’ve felt overwhelmed. I would’ve said I could never do all that, I’d burn out, make a mess of things. When I made my first homemade stew as a newlywed and burned the roux and cooked it so thick you could’ve stood a fork in it, and not in a good way, if someone had said, “Well, only 13,140 meals to go over the next 13 years and by the way, all those young eaters you’re going to have won’t be as kind or tactful as your darling hubby over there and will spit out any stew this bad and demand a corn dog instead,” I would’ve thrown up my hands and cried.
When it took me a full year to loose the 70 pounds I gained with my first pregnancy (yes, I said 70 pounds. Deal with it.) If someone had said, “Well done! Only 230 more to go over the next decade!” I would’ve kicked that jogging stroller to the curb and gone out for pizza.
If someone had sat me down with a calculator and said, “Okay, so you plan to have this number of kids…let’s see here, times 365 days times the first 13 years….carry the one….ok, that’s X number of tantrums, Y number of time outs, and Z number of times they will cut their own hair. Shall we forge on and calculate what awaits you during the teenage years?”
There is a reason the adage, “One day at a time” exists. It’s because that’s all a mother needs to handle. Just that one day will have enough ups and downs, laundry, laughter and loosing its to fill a novel, so why make tally marks of the past and why worry about tomorrow? Today is enough.
I can do today.
But if someone had told me about the 33,520 hugs, the 5,380 snuggled up story times, and the countless moments of genuine laughter and joy these years would afford me, well, maybe that would’ve all seemed too good to be true.
What a relief life is a surprise.