To the Pregnant woman who passed me on Park and 27th around noon today:
This morning, my daughter Thalia and her cousin Ella were running around on the sidewalk like the crazy two-year olds that they are. You and your husband were passing by, and stopped for just a second to smile at them – that familiar smile that takes joy and anticipation and longing and sheer terror and smashes them all together until they curl your mouth up in a way that maybe only other mothers can recognize.
“You’re next,” I called to you, and I think your smiled brightened. I caught you squeeze your husband’s hand just a little more tightly and then you walked on.
I just wanted to tell you that not so long ago, I was the one looking at little girls squealing on sidewalks and telling myself, soon. Not so long ago, I’d lurk on message boards for toddler moms and think they were speaking some special secret language filled with song lyrics and board books they knew by heart, newfangled acronyms (CIO! EBF! OMG! WTF!) and lines from TV shows I felt dumb for not having known. I thought these women all seemed so wise. So experienced. So…parental.
It never dawned on me that they were all just as hapless and scared as I was, fudging their way through this mothering business one day at a time.
They were just a chapter ahead of me in the book.
So, to the pregnant woman who passed us on Park and 27th today, don’t worry. You’ll be fine.
None of us know what we’re doing either.