I was standing at my kitchen island, my hair thrown back in a low bun…no makeup on…my smelly gym clothes still stuck to my body. I was coughing…the same cough I’d had for 3 weeks but didn’t have time to make an appointment for. Unpacking groceries…while my oldest whined that she was hungry. My youngest started crying because she stubbed her toe (again)…and both of them finding one thing or another to argue with each other over.
I wearily looked over at my mom – the same mom who I can’t seem to recall ever looking so frazzled despite having one extra child.
She smiled at me and said these most perfect words:
“Hillary, it’s hard work isn’t it? This parenting thing. I mean it’s wonderful, but it is wonderfully hard.”
And she was so right. As usual…
Parenting is hard…
Harder than anything you could have ever imagined…harder than anything you’ve ever done before. Not just because every day brings new challenges and lessons to learn. Not just because you’re always tired and praying you get it right.
It’s hard because the outcome of these little people’s lives lay in the palm of your hand.
The choices I make today will impact them forever. FOREVER people! This cannot be taken lightly.
But parenting is also wonderful.
Wonderful in a sense of joy that I never knew existed before my girls were born. A joy so deep that I wonder if God added an extra section in my heart when they were born because I had never felt this way before. Wonderful in that these little girls are mine…they are a piece of me and we will always be intrinsically a part of each other.
But some days, if I’m not really careful, the “hard” stuff can outweigh the “wonderful.”
The sick children, the back talk, the fighting, the lack of sleep, the worry…it can become all that I focus on. When really, all of it is a phase. The hard stuff…you will get through it.
The homework will get done. The sass will segue to respect. The siblings will learn they are each other’s best friends.
But the wonderful? That, my friend, will keep you going. That is what makes this parenting gig so worth it.
Because all too often I am reminded of friends that can’t have children.
Of mothers who have lost their little ones to cancer, disease, accidents.
Of babies born with life-debilitating deficits.
And I realize – my “hard” stuff is not really hard at all. It’s trying. It’s annoying. It’s frustrating.
But hard? Not in comparison.
So I will take these two little girls, and I will take their good, bad and ugly. And I will revel in the joy they bring me even amidst the struggles. And I will know – If you are lucky parenting is wonderfully hard.
And I am definitely lucky, very lucky.