My first grandchild is due any day now and I’ve got two words of advice for his parents: Hold on.
1) Hold on to your lives before baby — to the memories of that time you met each other and started dating and broke up and then dated again until it just made sense to make it a forever deal. Never forget that.
2) Hold on to your baby before he wiggles out of your arms, then toddles across the floor, then runs out the door to go to school and make friends and find his own place. It all happens so fast.
3) Hold on to each other — even when you disagree. To Sara: so what if Riles takes your son outside without a jacket on a chilly, rainy day. A warm bath, followed by a cup of hot chocolate while snuggling in your arms will keep him from getting sick. And it might work for the baby too. To Riles: so what if Sara puts a pink ball cap on him to shield his little eyes from the bright sun while you’re in the company of your macho friends. Maybe you should wear a pink hat too. Be cool like that.
4) Hold on to what you both know is right for your family and not what others who do not know your life story attempt to tell you is right. (For the record, I know enough of your life story to write this list, but this is probably as close to right as I’ll ever get.)
5) Hold on to your words before you criticize your kid, at least for the time it takes you to count silently to ten. I wish I’d done that more often myself. There may have been less need for therapy for my adult kids that way (written with a grin).
6) Hold on to your britches. Yes, I said britches. It’s an old saying that means: Get ready, something exciting is about to happen! Honestly. And there will be lots of those times, from his first smile to his first step to his first bike ride without training wheels, and more, way more beyond your wildest dreams.
7) Hold on to each moment, even this very second while you read these words. Take a deep breath. No, a deeper one.
8) Hold on to that breath as long as you can. Then let it go. That’s how fast your child will grow (see #2).
9) And the final one, for when you think you cannot hold on to much of anything else any longer – and I guarantee you that there will be days like that – call me. I’ll lift you up. That’s a promise you can forever and always hold on to.