One of the things that frightens me the most about my looming motherhood status is not the sleepless nights and the never-ending flood of poopy diapers and the crying and screaming and colic and everything else that is scary about babies and infants and toddlers.
It’s that K and I will be expected to raise a person. From tinyhood to bighood. The tinyhood parts don’t faze me [that much]. I’ve been a babysitter, I’ve been a live-in nanny. For all my real-life abrasiveness and sarcasm and bone-dry wit, I [think I] have surprisingly motherly instincts. I check up on people, I want them to be safe and well and happy and protected and learned. I’m melty and gooey about babies and kids and even grown-ups, and I want to huddle them all under my wing and keep them safe.
But I have never spent give-or-take 18 straight years with someone who needed me at almost every step of the way in some form or another. I have never had to teach a child about death or life or illness or politics or religion or sex or driving a car or balancing a checkbook or operating a washing machine or being a kind, successful, intelligent, capable, well-rounded human being.
I’m not even good at a lot of those, myself.
The times I think “I can’t do this” the most are the times when I imagine Future Evie, as a kid who’s being bullied, or who has difficulty with math, or who doesn’t know what she wants to major in, or hits her first raccoon driving on a backcountry road late at night, or having boy [or girl] troubles, or needs to be in therapy, or is in an abusive relationship, or experimenting with drugs, or oh my god all the things that can go wrong. I’m fairly confident in my abilities to handle her up until school projects aren’t fun and she no longer gets a recess in her school day, but what then?
How can I do this? How do I make an adult? Without screwing her up in our learning journey? Will I improve myself simply by virtue of working hard to make the best human being we can possibly create? Is there a book not on how to raise a child, but how to raise a good adult?