Do you set certain events as a finish line of sorts when it comes to parenting your child? When John entered elementary school and middle school and high school, I felt like I’d achieved something each time. As if I had carried him on my back, walking over rocky terrain, up and down a mountain…with snow! This year in particular, my husband and I are about to experience a big one: high school graduation. And while I’m not discounting my buff quads and wind-burned face, this is John’s achievement. But I guiltily can’t help feeling relieved. We are almost there! He’s about to start his next chapter of life as a man! And like of box of eggs that were jostled during transit, he made it intact (whew). I am a somewhat anxious mom. I think of things that some moms probably don’t, like the fact that if he was a late bloomer, then I didn’t need to worry yet about him having a girlfriend (right?). I was his protector after all. If something terrible happened, would that qualify as my “worst day” as a parent? What about my “best day?” Would that be defined by how he reacted to something or is it based on things that didn’t happen at all because I helped prevent them? Or none of the above?
Looking back over the years, I’ve had several moments that I thought were for SURE my worst day as a mom. Here’s a secret that I didn’t realize until recently: that can also be the catalyst for your best day or moment as a parent. For example, when the recession hit, Sunrise was only a four classroom school and about half of our parents were laid off. With not enough money coming in, I had to either lay off my Director, or go back to work as a math teacher. I chose to teach. And while that covered our personal bills, it wasn’t enough to cover Sunrise’s, so we also had to sell our house and use the equity to cover us until things started to turn around. We were trying to cut back on everything, so we pulled John out of his kindergarten class after being there for six weeks and put him in the school next door to ours (Rob was teaching web design at the same school as I was), so that he could walk to us after school with a group of teacher children who were doing it already and save on paying after school care. I stressed over moving him to a new school and forcing him to walk with children he didn’t know, but he ended up loving it! He was able to sit in his daddy’s tech class for a few minutes with his students just before the day ended and he felt like a big boy walking with the older kids. I remember the stress of that time and just trying to survive and he remembers the adventure.
We as a society are pretty stressed out right now. Add parenting into the mix and trying so valiantly to shield your children from what’s going on, well, it may feel like there are more bad days, possibly even more contenders for your “worst day” than normal, so how could a “best day” be even possible? It can! You’ve heard before that children are resilient. So are you. This may be a hard time, but it’s not as bad as you think and it’s going to get better. Everyone has bad times and good times as a family. Think of it this way…you have so many life events that are coming up that will rank as the “best day” for your child, so that means you will have some, too. Like what? How about their first relationship? Or learning how to drive? (I didn’t say that your child’s best days would be your best days. 😉 Your child is continuing to reach milestones. There are things coming up that are going to be epic! Lots of content for potential awesome days are on the horizon.
Right now, my “best day” is in the future…John’s high school graduation. Hey, it’s my son’s graduation and I’ll cry if I want to. My worst? Well, the school year just started and I have 7 more months to screw up, so I’ll have to get back to you. 😉
My son, John, wearing his favorite Vans and flannel jacket
that I expressly asked him not to wear for his senior pictures.