This Too Shall Pass

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Parenting is made up of seasons. Chunks of time where we do a lot of the same thing, over and over. Then it changes and we do something a little bit different, over and over. Then it changes again. And it keeps changing.

So remember – whatever you’re going through right now, this too shall pass.

My Facebook memories recently told me that eleven years ago, we’d just met the neurosurgeon who was going to perform a craniotomy on our then almost five-year-old. I was looking at that post, remembering how absolutely terrified we were about her upcoming brain surgery. Because … brain surgery. We didn’t know we could ever be more afraid as parents than we were then.

And now, well-removed from that experience, we can look back and find the beauty and wonder in it.

Just over a year ago we diagnosed one daughter with depression and anxiety. Ten months ago, she had an acute mental health emergency and we had to hospitalize her for eight days. We didn’t know we could ever be more afraid as parents than we were then. We’re actually still in the middle of this particular season, but we’ve moved down the road of the journey of this one and are through the worst of it (we desperately hope).

Even while we were mired in the deepest terror of it, we were aware of the love and support we got from every corner of our lives, and we saw the beauty in that. And we still see it with all our people.

Our oldest just took and passed her driver’s test – not for the permit, y’all. For the actual driving, all alone. We didn’t know we could ever be more afraid as parents than we are now. But we have enough parenting under our belt to know that this too shall pass; this terror every time she walks out the door with the keys. We’ll always be nervous, but we know we’ll get more comfortable with it eventually.

And then we’ll look back on this first big leap into real independence and see the beauty and wonder of her growing into the woman she’s going to be.

When I saw that reminder about her brain surgery, it threw me back into that fear, but I immediately laughed with relief because we were through it. And it made me think of all the scary things we don’t know how to do as parents – actually having the baby, that first night home (my husband, the Professor, and I stood over our oldest and promised her that if she just got through the night, we’d do our best to figure it out the next day), those first three months, the first growth spurt when everything changes.

And then those little babies rollover. And then they crawl. And then they walk and figure out how to navigate stairs. And then they go to preschool, playdates, elementary school, middle school. And then, you guys, they even go to high school and get their driver’s license.

It all just keeps changing. And so far, we’ve been able to figure it all out.

Never perfectly. Rarely elegantly.

But we’ve managed.

And thinking back to everything we have been able to figure out helped calm me down about my new driver. We’ll get through this, too. And whatever the next thing is. And the next. And the thing after that.

Because if we know anything by now, it’s that there will definitely be a thing after that.

So if you’re in the very beginning stages of this parenthood adventure, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you never actually figure it all the way out. You get more confident in your ability to parent, to do it better than you did before, to make the right decisions for your kid(s) and family, but you never truly know exactly how to do it. Or at least we don’t.

In fact, with each new season, we feel like we’re newborn parents again. I think we come up to speed quicker, but now we know that these seasons come and go – and the older the girls get, the faster they seem to pass.

Don’t despair.

If it’s hard right now, you’ll get through it, and it will ease up. If it’s easy now, well, it’ll probably get harder before too long. Do your best to figure it out and to enjoy the season – even if it’s a tough one. The lessons we learn sometimes don’t appear until they’re in the rearview, but thankfully we can usually find beauty and wonder in all of them.

Is the season you’re in right now hard on you? Or are you enjoying it? How are you coping?

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Wildly in love with her perfectly imperfect life, Kathy’s been married to her most favorite person in the world, “The Professor,” for 14 years. They moved to Columbia from Atlanta seven years ago and are enjoying raising their two girls, Gracie (12½) and Tate (10) here. After undergrad and her MBA, Kathy worked in Corporate America for 10 years before retiring to work full-time for the girls. Most recently, she was a grant writer at a college here in town, but had to leave that job when her family moved to New Zealand for six months for The Professor’s sabbatical. She started her blog, kathygoeskiwi.com, to document that amazing adventure, but now she’s home and trying to figure out what to do with her life. Again. Probably the loudest and most foul-mouthed introvert you’ll ever meet, she can usually be found curled up with a trashy romance novel, on the tennis court, at her awesome gym, or drinking wine with people she loves.

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