Recently, I was at a local Fed-Ex Kinkos making copies of some surveys in a real estate file. Although I am frequently at Fed-Ex Kinkos to pick-up/drop-off large copy projects for some of my work projects, I do not frequently use the over-sized copier nor do I make many copies myself that are outside of the standard 8 ½ x 11 paper size. Predictably, I was using the gigantic copier incorrectly, causing most of my copy material to be cut-off. As I was struggling to make this outer-space like machine to work for me, another woman was also struggling in the store. She was young with a bright smile and happy demeanor, trying to control her screaming 1 ½ year old in the long line of people waiting to speak with the sole on-duty employee. After I FINALLY got the copier to stop cutting off my copies (turns out I was feeding the paper in the wrong way), I got in line behind the young mother, glad that my struggle was over. At this point, her child was having a full-on tantrum. As I stood there on a Thursday morning, in my suit, copies in hand, making a mental list of the phone calls I needed to return and my afternoon meetings, this glimpse of motherhood scared the hell out of me. Although this woman was put together in her cargo capris and flip-flops, smiling while holding her screaming, wiggly child, I wondered how I could want something so badly that terrifies me so much. Although not an exact comparison by any means, I did not feel terrified before I got married. I was ready. I was looking forward to spending the rest of my life with Brandon. After we were married, I did have a mental adjustment period. Most of that “adjustment period” I blame on the fact that I worked solely in the area of family law. Dealing with ugly divorces day in and day out was an emotional strain, especially being a newly-wed.
In speaking with friends at the end of their pregnancies, I have been assured over and over again that, yes, by the end of that 9 months, you are pretty much ready for anything that will lead you to NOT be pregnant. I wonder if that includes being prepared for temper tantrums in small, professional settings (a term I use loosely when referring to FedEx Kinkos). However, if I compare it to being married, it’s true that I was not prepared for some of the difficult situations Brandon and I would be faced with. Our marriage’s “tantrums” were not all pleasant when we were in the middle of them, but we got through them and came out closer, somehow. I’m sure that I will feel the same way about my tantrum-throwing toddler, but sometimes, it really scares me to think about being that person holding the screaming child (mostly likely not wearing 4 inch BCBG heels) smiling at the suited, terrified woman behind me and leaving the store to get in my mini-van.