Penelope’s Reflection

Kids - Clapway

Raising children is probably the hardest thing anyone can do. If you are as lucky as I am, they will turn out fine despite the horrid middle school years that girls go through, or the idiotic statements people make when they think that difference matters, or the scrapes, the lost teeth, or their parents’ ridiculous behavior. I do not take credit for my children being who they are. They survived. They survived public school, they survived the chicken pox, and crazy walks in blizzards and ice skating on days so cold that school closed. They survived the camping trips, a huge extended family, good teachers and bad, Halloween costumes and losing friends. One of them survived open-heart surgery, another survived a blow to the head from a friend pretending to be a hockey player, and another survived a divorce that came during middle school (which is never a good time for anyone to survive anything).
Having children suspends life in a limbo that wiggles about the middle branches of life. Once this limbo reaches the top branch of the tree, they are adults. I never climbed to the top of the tree to see where they were going because what was important was where they were at the moment. I had no control of their future; I just needed to support them while they figured out the world.
Now, I am happy for who them. They are successful, healthy, smart, beautiful, compassionate, and everything else that a mother wants their children to be. Life will continue to provide them with obstacles as it did when they were children. They may make some of the same mistakes that I did, and I hope they learned that if they fall into a rut they have the sense to pull themselves out of it on their own or to ask for help. Life tosses at us into the rut of work, marriage, and making ends meet. Ruts are important, but the key lies in learning how to get out of them or asking someone to give you a push when you are mired.
Raising children shows us that we are resilient creatures. The worries we have, the defenses we build, the ultimate fears that come along with raising them are part of the package. Only in retrospect can I see from the top branch of the tree that if you use your resources right they will survive.