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Commentary: Nothing Prepares You for Becoming a Parent

By Nicole Kelly

Buffalo, NY – She was sleeping as peaceful as a midsummer's night. Her cherubic cheeks and rosebud lips seemed to kiss the air. A picture of complete serenity lay in her crib. All was right with the world in that quiet moment.

Suddenly, with hair standing straight up, arms sagging from the sheer magnitude of a bulging diaper bag (contents spewing over sides like an overflowing rim) clothes spotted by spit up and stains in every color of the spectrum, and eyes heavy like sand bags fighting the next surge of wind and water, mommy arrived. In her weary sleep deprived eyes, one spotted the eye of the storm. That storm was called motherhood.

Motherhood and weather, beautiful days of steady sunshine and cloudless skies. Motherhood, unpredictable events and some unfortunate calamities. You try to prepare for tomorrow, but sometimes you forget your umbrella and your boots (and your breast pump, purse, keys, extra diapers, bottles, to do lists, your name, your mind). What you've forecasted (sleep, lunch with a girlfriend on your day off, cleaning the house, having a coherent conversation at work, checking off items on your to do list, time with husband not spent sleeping on the couch) just does not always happen as scheduled. The mommy plan becomes grounded by hunger storms, tired cries, colds, teething, and fatigue.

I gave birth to my daughter Allison last April. The last eight months have been like the proverbial whirlwind. Some days are full of sunshine, while other days blizzards, typhoons, and tidal waves hit.

Yet these days are marked by an immeasurable joy. To see my daughter with eyes of wonder gaze up at a tree; marvel in her feet; and share her smiles, giggles and first attempts at rolling over, sitting up, crawling, is wondrous. To hear her coos and "raspberries" divine. Her discoveries are my spring; her difficulties my winter; her play my summer; and her growth my fall. She is my four glorious seasons.

As I become a more experienced mother, I have learned to put my umbrella up more often and protect my family from undue storms through more planning, structure, (no snickering those of you who know me); and certain sacrifice. I have learned that sometimes you have to roll the windows completely down; let the wind hit you in the face; and simply roll with it. Nothing quite prepares you for everything you face as a parent. Nothing ever will. But after the storm, calm awaits and mommy planes fly again.

Listener-Commentator Nicole Kelly is a new mother, social worker and writer who lives in the Genesee County town of Darien.