Retrospective: 10 years of parenting (part III)

This is the final post in a 3-part series inspired by Kidling’s birthday. I was a bit slow in updating basically because I’ve been kind of . . . I dunno. Apathetic, I guess, for the past week or so. Feeling sort of uninspired, uninteresting. Like I have nothing to contribute to the conversation.

Anyway, here’s the 3rd piece of parenting advice, although this is applicable to life in general. Actually, now that I think of it, all three pieces of advice can be considered applicable to life in general:

  • This too shall pass.
My mom used to say this all the time when things were tough. It’s a really, really good piece of wisdom to hang onto. There have been times when it’s raining out, and it feels like the entire world is grey and awful and always has been and always will be. Times when I can barely remember the warmth of sunshine or a bright blue sky, but I remember what mom and experience taught me — This too shall pass.

Sitting on mom’s lap
1980

This doesn’t just apply to the bad times — it doesn’t just apply to diapers that stink to high hell or fighting siblings or a teenager screaming that she hates you. It doesn’t just apply to a kid talking back or a string of bad report cards. This applies to the good times, too. This too shall pass, I have learned — though my mom (kindly) never pointed it out — also applies to things like a stretch of sunny days, or to sticky-sweet toddler kisses, or to the soft fresh-powdered scent of a newly-bathed 4 month old.

This too shall pass is the handiest wisdom I know. When the world is tearing apart around or inside me, I keep telling myself that no matter how impossible it seems, this too shall pass. Horrible, heartbreaking things have happened in my life, and I’ve come out the other side and been able to look back and learn from it all — and that is life. That’s the way it works. Bad times do pass, even if it seems impossible in the midst of them. There have been times when only the knowledge — the intellectual realization, not even the emotional, visceral realization — that this too shall pass is what kept me going. There have been times when I’ve had to remind myself that I’ve survived worse and been happy again.

Bright times ahead.

But I try to remember it, too, when life is sweet. To remind myself to savor the smiles, to relax and let go of irritations and frustrations. Because this too shall pass. I adore my husband and my son, and nothing terrifies me more than the possibility that I may lose them. But life is fickle and unpredictable, and ever since my mom died, I dwell on that fear. I don’t fear my own death — I fear loss. I fear the loss of those I love. As a result of that, I savor the good times all the more, because life is terrifying and unpredictable, and there’s nothing I can do about that. But I can collect and save the good memories, the happy times, the smiles and joys and laughter, the stories of our lives. So I do.

Bus stop mornings.

. . . Hey, look at that. This entry was vaguely depressing, too. This is why I don’t like to write in this mood — I’m not quite depressed, at least not according to the clinical definition or what my mom experienced, but I’m definitely trending toward a sort of morbid optimism. Or maybe it’s a bright pessimism. All I know is, it’s the sort of talk that makes conversations fall silent and people look at me with a sort of confused concern.

Part 1 and Part 2 through the linkys, as well as the original Hubpage I wrote that inspired this series of posts.

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