Two days ago, we visited friends who had just come home with their first baby. Great looking boy. Mom, Dad, and Baby are doing well. When I walked into the nursery, Baby was sleeping like one (or at least the way the cliche says that they do). Mom said some cute things that moms say about their newborns, but I sensed that words were inadequate for what she was feeling. Dad’s chest was swelled with pride. Great-looking family. It was a good feeling. And it brought back good memories.
Looking around the room, I saw several familiar things. The perfectly assembled and as yet, unused crib. Perfect paint on the walls, sans the scrawls and scribbles of a toddler. Burp cloths, newborn diapers, changing table, etc etc. Even the little log sheet for recording feedings and diapers. Everything in its place.
While taking in that moment, I almost had diarrhea of the mouth, spewing out advice on parenting, coping, adjusting, etc. But I swore to myself long ago, that I would not be that guy. Milestones in life tend to make everyone else think they are an expert. It’s as if they don’t impart this allegedly unique bit of wisdom with you, you’ll be doomed to make terrible mistakes that will scar you for life. And of course, all this advice and wisdom comes unsolicited. It always does.
I know they mean well, but it’s one of my few pet peeves. You know what I mean….
- When you were engaged to be married, how many people told you that your freedom would be gone? Or that life would change forever?
- When they find out you’re expectant parents, they attempt to be clever or helpful by saying something about sleep deprivation, how expensive kids are, or that those kids will be grown and out of the house before you know it.
I mean this next sentence with this all possible kindness and sensitivity — if I want your advice, I’ll ask for it. If you really, really think I need to hear it, then at least give me the courtesy of asking if I want your advice.
Like I said about our friends . . . they make a great-looking family. On my way out, I told them that I was happy for them beyond words, gave Dad a heart-felt hug, and said goodbye.