At first I soaked in the attention that I would usually have to get drunk and naked in a public place to have showered upon me. But as the cheers died down I realized that aside from a few summers of Little League and a stint on an advertising agency beer league I had absolutely no experience or knowledge of how to throw a pitch.
Also I looked down and realized I was holding a wiffle ball, wearing a button up denim shirt and no pants.
How embarrassing! Who wears denim shirts these days?
The night before last I dreamed I was in a doctor's office and after a few seconds came to the horrifying realization that I was the doctor. I had no idea how I had gotten there and only knew there was a waiting room packed with patients waiting for me to save their lives.
I had to make a quick decision - fake it or run. Of course I faked it and spent the entire dream making up a bunch of stuff using the only medical terms I know - substantial and areola - knowing these patients would be lucky to make it to their next birthdays.
Whether or not you believe our dreams are connected to our conscious lives, you have to admit that my dreams are developing a common theme: I have no idea what the hell I'm doing and I'm terrified to be exposed as the impostor I am.
I'm not a parent. When I was a kid parents knew exactly what to do when their kids threw dueling tantrums in the middle of the kids' clothing at Target. Parents knew what to feed their kids and remembered to buy new milk when the old milk went sour. They didn't wake up and ask their 2-year-old what was on today's agenda.
Yes, I've read Dr. Karp's books. Yes, I've talked to my friends. Yes, my Mom calls me every morning and tells me I'm doing a great job and to put down the whiskey - I'm 25 weeks pregnant for goodness sake.
But there are a lot of gaping holes that parents are supposed to inherently know how to fill in. What do I do when Ellie laughs in my face when I'm disciplining her? What do I do when I taste one of the oranges that Lila has already eaten an entire can of and realize they've gone bad? What do I do when I can't walk because I just had foot surgery and we're on hour four of an eight hour stretch in the playroom? And what in God's name do I say when they look me in the eye as they're pooping? Good job? Nice poop? Get out of my sight? That shit's creepy, people!
I'm in no way prepared for these situations.
And as Ellie gets older it keeps getting harder. We encounter new challenges every day and I have no idea what's right or wrong. What matters and what doesn't matter. What will land me in prison and what won't.
And to make matters worse I know that she's starting to form memories now and I have no idea what she'll throw in my face when she turns 16 and runs off to join the carnival as a gypsy stripper. God knows she's already got more than enough reason to.
You'll probably tell me that I'll learn as I go and I'll tell you that's bullshit. By the time I learn what the hell I'm supposed to be doing my kids will have kids of their own and they won't care what I have to say and they'll yell at me for being pushy.
I spent four years in college preparing myself to enter the workforce and become a productive member of society, then another two in grad school to sharpen my skills. Before I had Ellie I took a one-hour infant care class showing me how to change a diaper and was sent about my business.
The one thing keeping me going right now is reading articles about women putting their kids in the back of their pickup truck strapped to a stroller. As wrong as it may be, I do find a little solace in the thought that there are plenty of people out there who suck worse than me.