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Parenting instinct

Written by: Suzanna May 16 2011 I have a confession to make: my husband and I are bigger babies than Baby Palmer probably will ever be. We cry on a daily basis over just about anything you can imagine. And, while I can at least claim that some of my tear bursts are due to...

Written by: Suzanna

I have a confession to make: my husband and I are bigger babies than Baby Palmer probably will ever be. We cry on a daily basis over just about anything you can imagine. And, while I can at least claim that some of my tear bursts are due to pregnancy hormones—like the other day when I started sobbing at the dinner table as soon as I realized our poor little lab puppy would never experience the joy of laughing—I have to admit that random tear fests have been per-the-norm for both of us since we met. What can I say? We’re a couple of soft-hearted schmucks.

Considering our propensity for crying, we probably should have thought twice before settling on Steve Martin’s 1991 remake of Father of the Bride as a “fun” flick for our movie date last week. (For those who don’t know, the story centers around a father’s emotional roller coaster ride as he prepares for the marriage of his 22-year-old “little” girl.) Although we won’t be parents for a few more months, the father’s struggle to give away his own flesh and blood already made complete sense to us. We spent most of the movie crying.

After the movie ended and Tom and I regained control of our tear ducts, we talked of the amazing protective instincts that come naturally—and surprisingly early—with the parenting territory. I told him about how the day we had found out we were having a boy, I found myself, out of the blue, thinking angry thoughts towards the female who would eventually “take away” my firstborn son. (Don’t worry, I repented soon afterwards.) He told me that he had been secretly relieved we were having a boy because he was sure he’d be a complete mush pot whenever we had a girl. As he put it: “It’s a good thing we’re having a boy because otherwise I’d be dead.” Then, we both sympathized with our parents who had “let go” of us just a few months prior. (For all we know, they actually spent the hours following our wedding in a fit of hilarity at having gotten rid of us, but being overwhelmed by the melodrama, we didn’t consider that possibility at the time.)

When I first found out I was expecting, I was sure that God had made me without a single maternal bone in my body. But with every day that passes, I am amazed to see that there are certain things that just come naturally when the time is right—or, I guess in our case, 20-some-odd years early. After our experience the other night, I’m convinced that our protective parental instincts are alive and well. We are all set to keep Baby Palmer under our wing for the next 18 years (or four or five decades), and for his sake, we’ll be sure to keep plenty of Kleenex boxes under there, too.