Parenting: Simple, But Not Always Easy
Having a child seems like a simple enough decision. It’s a fulfillment of lifelong dreams for some; others agonize over the decision as if they can predict just exactly how a child will fit into their well-orchestrated lives. As if a child is something like a new couch or a vacation that can be scheduled neatly into our busy days, and we will not only know exactly when it will be delivered but are assured that we will meet all our connections and the hotel room will be ready when we arrive.
I was one of those people, I must admit. I was that woman – a natural born organizer, a teacher used to lesson planning, assessing, and holidays right on schedule. How could a baby be that difficult for someone like me, right? It should be easy if I plan it right.
Even the delivery nurse tried to warm my mom shortly after my firstborn entered the world. “It’s women like her,” she whispered, “that have the most trouble, you know.” Little did I know how true her words would become.
I never thought, really, that when that first little person, and then another, entered my life, I would be so shaken. I never thought about how hard all the transitions would be for me-it just seemed like I should know how to handle it, just as if it was a disruptive student in my class. I could surely lesson plan for this little being to become a part of the fabric of our daily lives, couldn’t I? If I could handle a room of tweenagers, surely a child of my own would be simple.
It turns out, simple is relative. Did my maternal instincts kick in? Absolutely. Did I realize how painfully difficult and gut-wrenching parenting could be? Not in my wildest dreams.
I surely didn’t plan for the abundance of love I would feel for these two beings-a love that would create strength I never knew I had. I didn’t realize that every decision, every plan in life from here forward would involve them. It went way beyond the logistics of car seats and strollers; having children simply altered my perception of life and why we live it. And I most definitely didn’t plan for the heartache I would feel when, eighteen years later, my firstborn is ready to leave.
Simple doesn’t mean easy, that’s for sure. The simple part of parenting, I realized, is watching your child grow and reach and try and be curious about everything life has to offer. Sometimes, though, simple is easier said than done.
This post was inspired by the novel The Opposite of Maybe by Maddie Dawson. At the age of 44, Rosie finds herself suddenly single and pregnant. She tries to hide in her grandmother’s home but meets two men that will change her life forever. Join From Left to Write on April 8 we discuss The Opposite of Maybe. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.