I visited the aquarium today with my three-year-old and for the first time had zero gear. No stroller, diaper bag, change of clothes. I didn't even pack a lunch! It felt strange and awesome all at once, especially considering that in four-months-time I'll be embarking on babyhood all over again with the little girl growing inside of me. It will be chaotic, messy, sleepless, amazing AND all so brief.
Parenthood reminds me that the ebbs and flows of life are in so many ways out of our control. We can plan to have a baby, get the best gear, books, medical care, etc. but ultimately, we are at the whims of a tiny dictator, ruling the home both day and night.
Like parenthood, we can prepare for life; find a good job, a life partner, exercise, eat well. Position ourselves for success in many ways, yet even then we can get some astonishing curve balls thrown our way. We do what we think is our best and can still get side-swiped for better or worse. In the end, it is how we respond to the unexpected, the perspective that we hold that can make or break us.
I don't mean to sound like Pollyanna - it's unrealistic to expect to always see the bright side. What I mean is, there is tremendous value in getting shaken-up and letting yourself be a bit unbalanced. To try to be okay in the uncertainty and discomfort, just for a little while, because at the end of the day we don't have all the control, it's in the hands of the (metaphorical or actual) tiny dictator down the hall.
Let yourself ride the wave of the unknown. Send the "Need to Control" segment of your mind on vacation for a minute and just go with it. Then pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get life managed with just a little more patience and ability to compromise.