Despite having a well-stocked library of What to Expect and other "guide books" to being a mommy, there was admittedly a lot I didn't know before becoming a mommy. I addressed a great deal of those lessons here.
But, as I watched my daughter tonight, learning how to put the crown back onto her head after having taken it off, I felt myself smile from deep inside. I'd watched her pull things off of her head for the better part of a year now. This was nothing new. But putting them back on? Yet another new skill kiddo is rapidly getting under her belt. And I was proud. And at that moment, I realized there's a whole other list of things that no one ever told me I'd love about being a parent:
1. When your child learns a new skill, you will be as proud of them for learning how to put a pink, felt crown on their own head as you would be if they'd just cured cancer. (Clearly, not nearly as important in the grand scheme of things, but that's the point. Being a parent means becoming insanely proud of things like going pee pee on the potty)
2. Your child's face will burst into pure delight from simple things like hearing and seeing the water draining from the bath tub. And this delight on your child's face will cause your heart to damn near explode from joy.
3. You will actually learn to function on no sleep. And you will stay up voluntarily at night just to hold your child a little longer and feel her breathing against your chest. You'll even wake up earlier than necessary for work in the morning so that you can manage to squeeze a snuggle session into your morning routine.
4. You won't bat a short, naked eyelash at the fact that you can no longer afford your expensive makeup or skincare products because you have to pay for baby care items instead. One long whiff of your child's hair and none of it matters at all.
5. Your life will turn into a Broadway show where even going down the stairs requires a song and a dance. And these daily, impromptu performances will be the most rewarding performances of your life.
6. You will love this little person more than you have ever loved yourself. Every decision in your life going forward will revolve around your child.
7. The sound of your little one's giggle is all you need to put even the worst day behind you. And a snuggle and unprompted kiss? They can wipe out a whole week of bad.
8. You won't remember how you ever survived making dinner without having a kitchen dance party, singing into a wooden spoon. In your socks and pajamas. At 5:30 p.m.. And you will have so much more fun than you ever did at the club.
9. You will look at your child and feel as if a piece of your heart is walking outside of your body. Because it is.
Let's be honest; being a parent is hard. It is the most difficult and important task any of us will ever undertake. It is also the most rewarding. The contagious smiles, infectious laughter and the bright twinkle in my little girl's big brown eyes is more than enough to make all of the sleepless nights worthwhile. What no one ever told me about being a parent? That I would give life to a child but that child would remind me what it means to live.