I hate hearing those words. Ninety percent of the time they precede something I don't want to heard. The worst time to hear those words, though, is when they are used in regard to your life as a parent. I remember the first time I realized what damage those words can cause.
A friend was over with her two year old son. Princess was about 9 months old and perfectly content to crawl around and play with a variety of toys while I put together a page of her baby book. As my friend pried a pair of decorative edge scissors out of her son's peanut butter grip, she said, with a little bitterness, "Just wait until she's his age. You can kiss THAT hobby good-bye." There was know way that she could know my reaction to that casually tossed out comment.
I was really depressed there for a few weeks. Here I was, still a relatively new mom, having a more seasoned mom tell me that my future contained hours upon hours of chasing a hyperactive, peanut butter coated kid around other people's houses while my beloved scrapbooking supplies collected dust. Okay . . . so maybe I just took it kind of hard. I did go through another round of "baby blues" (a hormone related emotional low) when Princess weaned - which was around this time. But still, I think that it was an insensitive comment.
It wasn't until much later that I realized something very important: EVERY KID IS DIFFERENT!!!!! Say it with me now: EVERY KID IS DIFFERENT!!!! Oh, and while we're at it: EVERY PARENT IS DIFFERENT. And . . . EVERY SITUATION IS DIFFERENT!!!!!! My "just wait" moment is not necessarily the same as another's. So it's just best to keep your mouth shut!
(For the record, as Princess got older, I was still able to scrapbook. I haven't done it in quite a while, but my reason for scrapbooking was to document events in her life and in Buddy's life. Hello blogging!!!! Does anyone want a set of decorative edge scissors?)
But, please forgive me, I know that I "just wait" people, too. A friend of mine is pregnant with her first child. I find myself thinking "just wait" in her general direction constantly. I don't think that I've actually said those words to her because they are such a trigger for me, but I have probably said something very similar. I hate that. It's a fine line between wanting to share your experiences and opinions with a friend and being seen as that "seasoned mom" who only barks out warnings. I hope that I've stayed on the more positive side of the line.
Being a parent is a wonderful experience. And yes, there are many, many things that you won't fully "get" until you have the baby in your arms and start the journey of parenthood officially. But there are so many variable that I don't see how anyone can possibly feel that they have a right to utter the words "just wait" as a warning. Because if you sit around and wait for the "just wait"s, you miss an awful lot of the good stuff.
Speaking of waiting, there are also the "I can't wait"s that threaten to rob you of your in-the-moment-joy. I made a decision early on - before Princess was even born - that I wasn't going to get bogged down in the "I can't wait"s: I can't wait until she can crawl, I can't wait until she can talk, I can't wait until she's out of diapers, I can't wait until she's off to college . . .. You see how those can pile up? I wanted to enjoy each moment, each stage of her life because I will NEVER get those moments back. And, although it is very cliche to say, it goes too fast! I remember getting up in the middle of the night to feed her and soaking in every quiet moment. It was a sweet, special time that only she and I would share. I remember feeding her rice cereal and having it get all over the high chair, and I savored the sweet aroma and the stickiness of her cheek. I remember taking my time changing her diapers. After I would put the clean diaper on, I'd talk to her on the changing table, I'd tickle her tummy, I'd show her her own hands and feet and name her nose and ears and chin as I touched them. Soon she was pointing to them as I asked her where they were! All of those times would have been glossed over had I been focused on the future - which is so easy to do. I've taken the view that I "can't wait" for things that are actually on my calendar as events.
In conclusion, I would like to present a few of the Cabin's "wait"s:
Just wait until . . . .
you count the fingers and toes of your newborn.
your baby smiles for the first time.
you look at your husband/wife for the first time as a parent.
your cat/dog hears the baby cry for the first time!
I can't wait until . . .
we go to the circus tomorrow.
Grandmommy and Grandpoppy come in next week.
Princess and Buddy get home from school.
In my humble opinion, those are the kind of "wait"s that are okay to be spoken. Oh, and I try to only say, "Wait until Daddy gets home" in regards to when we'll order pizza.