When the kids were babies, I remember thinking if I could just get to the next stage–which always seemed right out of reach–that I could make it. For example, when they were newborns, if I could just hold on until they slept through the night, I’d make it. When they made it to solid foods and I wasn’t breastfeeding every five minutes, things would calm down. When we were toilet training our youngest, when he didn’t need a car seat anymore, when they were all in school…someday.
I have good news and bad news.
The bad news: It never gets easier.
The good news: It’s the most thrilling ride you can imagine…and the most worthwhile. Everything you do, every click on the track–it counts.
Raising kids always seems to reach a new stage of longing, of worry, of wonderful.
Sometimes, when we are on the way up that hill–we know one thing for sure: what comes up must come down.
Here are 3 more reasons why raising teens is like a roller coaster.
1. It will take your breath away. When you see the view from the top, and anything is possible–it’s both terrifying and beautiful at the same time. When my oldest daughter walked across the stage at her high school graduation, I felt my heart leap. It was a horrifying combination of joy and regret–pride and longing. Have we done a good job as parents? When will we know?
When I dropped my girls off at the dorm for the first time, and there was nothing to unpack but my heart, and my youngest daughter said, “Mom, do you want to spend the night with us?” I felt it. The uncertainty, the letting go–there’s not much that’s more difficult than this.
2. The speed that the future unfolds is deceptive. In the early morning hours when you’re wiping your toddler’s forehead, deciding if you need to go to the emergency room, time seems to stand still. When you’re in the thick of raising kids and you’re running from dawn to dusk, finding socks and signing permission slips and cleaning up spilled cereal and running out of bread and making cupcakes for the class, time seems to crawl, but don’t you believe it. It’s speeding by and gone before you know it.
3. When you think it’s over, it’s not. They don’t stop needing you when they graduate kindergarten, or high school, or college. They don’t stop needing you when they get engaged or married or divorced, or even when they become the ones wiping sweaty brows. There’s always a bit more–one more hill, one more dip, one more turn. Even when your Mancub is 6’4” with a size 16 shoe–guess what? He still needs you.
So buckle up, dear parent. The ride isn’t over yet. Isn’t it wonderful? There’s really nothing quite like it.