It is really true what they say, kids do grow-up fast. My oldest will be heading to high school next year and as we try to keep ourselves from being buried by the paperwork of new class schedules, band auditions, and parent orientations, I can’t help but think back to those first few years of her life. Those were the days filled with sleepless nights, diapers and tantrums and when her brother arrived just two short years after she entered the world, I found myself juggling the ever-growing demands of my toddler with the ever-present demands of a newborn. I was exhausted and cranky and found it difficult to believe that this would be the easiest part of my parenting journey.
That is precisely what my sister told me as I complained to her about my hectic and overwhelming life as a new mom. She listened to my endless stories of grocery store meltdowns and missing “bops” (pacifiers for those not in the Minglin clan) and calmly said to me, “I know you don’t see this now, but the problems you are having at the moment are small and controllable when compared to the problems you will face as they get older.” Small and controllable—those words stayed in my mind for years after that conversation. Mostly because I thought my sister had lost her mind. When I found myself rushing to grab towels after my daughter’s lunch made an appearance in the aisle of a drug store, or stayed up all night consoling a baby with an ear infection, or even when I spent an entire morning convincing a toddler they couldn’t wear sandals in snow—small and controllable? At those moments my problems seemed big and unmanageable.
Then, just as they do, my children got older. And as they got older, so did their problems. We went from small illnesses and shoe arguments to broken hearts and bad grades. There have been so many moments where I have watched as my children cry over lost friendships, struggle to succeed in sports, and drop the ball with school assignments. It is during those moments that I have come to realize exactly what my sister meant by ‘small and controllable’ and have come to appreciate the days when I could make their decisions for them and soothe their spirits by simply holding them in my arms all night.
As we embark on our first high school adventure, I am keenly aware that my job as a parent is getting harder not easier. But, with great hardship often comes great reward, and watching my children become smart, healthy & happy adults is worth every moment of every sleepless night.