I am piled on the couch with both my children. The little one is laying across my stomach, and the big one is leaning on my shoulder and tickling her sister. They are both giggling.
And I am reading articles on how to parent.
I've been thinking and talking a lot about showing up before I'm ready, about being brave, about putting myself out there while I'm still imperfect. But mostly when I do that, I'm talking about writing. I"m talking about advocacy. I'm talking about things that happen outside my house.
But the raw truth is that the thing in my life that requires the most courage is happening right here on my couch.
Loving my kids is terrifying.
Right now, there are two people, two of the people most important to me in the world, who rely on me for everything. For whose lives and development I am 100% responsible. Who I have to nurture and educate and love and cherish 24 hours of every day.
And sometimes, I really don't wanna.
And it isn't because I don't enjoy my children. It isn't because they bore me really or because there's something else I'd rather be doing. It's because I am so scared of screwing it up.
I read books and articles, and I ask advice. I make lists, and I obsess over decisions. I curl up into myself, researching and learning, preparing myself to parent. When I'm ready, when I'm perfect, when there is no chance of making a mistake, when there is no danger to anyone I love, that's when I will show up.
But parenting is happening right now. It is happening right now, when my one year old is brushing her own hair with her sister's brush, when my three year old is sitting next to me in butterfly pose (just like mama) and summarizing for me the Curious George episode she just watched. It's happening whether I am ready or not.
I'm scared. I'm allowed to be scared. I'm allowed to not enjoy every minute. I'm trying not to judge myself for not being present in the moment every moment, and I'm trying not to judge myself for judging myself for that.
My big girl is pretending to take my temperature now. "Are you sick today mommy? I think you're about to have a fever. I need to give you a special shot!"
My little girl has a toy phone balanced between her shoulder and ear and is stirring the tiny coffee pot she's put on the play stove.
I am smiling at them. I am closing my eyes and thinking happy thoughts for my shot. I am echoing the baby's babbling and signing back to her. I am writing.
This is my real life. It's not a dress rehearsal. I'm already doing it.
What a scary thought.