Parenting is full of smack-yourself-in-the-forehead moments: Things we think we should know just because every parent since prehistory has gone through it.
The dragging of feet.
The not eating.
The not sleeping.
There's also the tradeoff things:
The 'I love yous'
The happy glances in your direction.
The upraised hands wanting you to hold them.
The pleases and thank yous in just the right places.
People who don't have kids can pick any one of these, wrinkle their faces and say ... "Well, DUH! What did you think parenthood was all about?"
But parenting isn't something you inherit. Being a child doesn't prepare you for parenthood. Your own parents can't really prepare you either. Only parenthood itself can make you understand what pulling your hair out trying to figure out the inner workings of these tiny creatures you made really feels like.
The magazine pictures of happy families with perfect hair and impeccable clothes, pushing strollers, smiling, isn't you. Will never be you. In fact, the light from them is so far away you feel like a mushroom in the dark.
But the moment you slap yourself on the forehead that first time -- perhaps when you explain to a four-year-old that "going to Seattle" isn't about visiting a long lost aunt named Attle but a city in the beautiful state of Washington -- you'll feel the light snap on and the pieces fall into place. ...
For a little while anyway.