I have been a parent for 27 years, while the majority of my fellow Orlando Moms bloggers are young mothers just beginning the journey of parenthood. As I read their stories, I often find myself reminiscing about the past two decades; much like remembering a favorite vacation. And, it got me thinking …
Parenthood is like an airplane trip. It starts with the excitement of anticipation followed by the excruciating wait on the runway for the journey to begin. The time finally arrives and you begin to taxi down the runway slowly at first, then gain speed until gravity slams you back in your seat. Eventually, you reach the final cruising altitude.
Parenthood is like that. It starts slowly. We celebrate our children’s small milestones. Sleeping through the night. Rolling over. First tooth. First step. Age is measured in months instead of years. Life starts to gain speed as our children enter their school years. First day of Kindergarten. Packing lunches. Homework. Learning how to read, how to tie shoes and how to ride a bike.
By the middle school years, parenthood begins to reach warp speed. It was at this point that my husband and I started limiting our children to three extracurricular activities: a sport, church and enrichment. Even then, life was a blur. Do the math: 2 children x 3 activities + the heavy homework load of Catholic school ÷ 2 working parents.
By high school, the full centrifugal force of parenthood is upon us. Along with our children’s school and extracurricular activities comes dating, driving and, for many, the college admissions process. It was during these harried years that a friend coined one of my favorite phrases, “Raising children isn’t for sissies.”
And then, suddenly it seems, you are at cruising speed. Your children are young adults beginning to shape their own futures. From this vantage point, you can marvel at the landscape of your parenting years where the rough terrain is muted by distance. But, the journey is not over and there still will be turbulence along the way.
If I were to write a post card to my younger self and all the other moms who are taking this trip, it would read, “Fasten your seat belts and enjoy the ride. You’ll be there before you know it.”