Hurry up and get boring.
That’s the advice I would give to new moms and pops everywhere, or what I would name the title of a terribly boring television show detailing the lives of first time parents.
It doesn’t seem too interesting, frankly, to all those people out there who are doing interesting THINGS and going interesting PLACES. I mean, how exciting can a burp be? Or sleeping more than four hours in a row? Or grabbing an object for the first time? Or eating APPLESAUCE? Let’s be honest, how exciting can a SMILE be?
And any parent will tell you, a smile can be terribly, terribly exciting. Blood-stopping, gasping- wait did you see that? Did you see that? And the headlines in the newspaper read CHILD USES FACIAL MUSCLES TO SMILE FOR FIRST TIME; FATHER ALMOST FAINTS. Except that no one’s buying the newspaper except a select few, the grandparents, the sister, the neighbor next door who can’t seem to get enough of your life, pouring over that headline in rapture.
Hurry up and get boring.
Except it’s not boring, not exactly. Maybe to you. Maybe to me. But to them, no, no it’s not boring at all.
It’s something I wasn’t quite prepared for before I had my baby girl. What? I need to stay at home? And give my baby sleep? How many times a day?
How many times a day do I have to stop and feed her? How often can I just have a whole half hour to myself? What do you mean I can’t go out past seven?.... And it hits, the boredom parents blues, as you adjust to your more sedentary lifestyle, as your home becomes the center, as you walk slower, as you slow down to the level of a tiny human being experiencing life for the first time.
From the perspective of the child, how exciting is life? Terribly, terribly exciting. So exciting in fact that, phew, after an hour or so, they’ve got to relax and take a snooze. That’s how exciting their life is to them.
The news of the boring lifestyle of parents may come as a disappointment to those who have spent their lives up until now perfecting their coolness factor.
But there's something beautiful there, because a parent transforms to become the structure, the containers for energy and not just the energy itself. The conduit through which their children's lives gain motion.
You help mold them. You help change them. You help them become who they were meant to be. And maybe you’ll get glory for it, and maybe not. Maybe you’ll have fun doing it, and maybe not. But when you become a vessel, it’s not about fun or boredom anymore. It’s about the contents. And the contents are growing and beautiful and they need you. At seven pm at night, they need you, behind that door, as they slumber. So that when they wake up, that tiny bundle will have a safe home in your arms and all that they need so that they can continue growing and loving, smiling and burping. Pretty soon they'll start speaking and thinking and laughing and wondering. And before you know it, they'll be moving and shaking and going to places you have never been and doing things you never even dreamed of doing.
And changing the world, one footstep at a time. One word at a time. One smile at a time.
All because you took the time when they were younger, to clean them, to watch them, to smile back at them. To print the headlines and post them on the refrigerator door so they would know know exciting their small accomplishments are to a big you.
And there’s nothing boring about that.