I had to get my necklace fixed, so I was at the mall today and the repair place was right across from the kids play area (yay). So I wound up in conversation with a mom whose little girl was playing with my boys. We were talking about some of the differences of raising boys and girls and the changes she is experiencing in her little girl as she reaches the age of 3. My experience with raising my kids has been that the 2's are terrific and the 3's are troublesome. But then by the time they are 4, things level out and it seems to get easier for a while.
Parenting seems to be like riding a rollercoaster. You know as you get buckled in two things. First, you can't get off the rollercoaster and second, you are in for an amazing ride. You get in, get buckled, your heart rate elevates anticipating the fun and excitement ahead. It's exhilarating! Then the coaster starts to move and often, very quickly, you start to wonder if you knew what you were in for, after all IT'S SCARY! Sometimes you can see what is coming and it is intimidating and daunting and may even make you want to throw up. Other moments it is exciting and fun and you are laughing your head off, not wanting the ride to end. There are the times you are headed up a steep slope and you hear the slow click, click, click sound that lets you know you are moving forward, but it is slow and tedious and can be frustrating and nerve wracking. You may even be saying, this isn't what I thought, let me off, let me off. But you are buckled in tight. Then you race down a huge hill scared to death, screaming your head off, holding on for dear life bracing for the loops ahead.
Sometimes people lose things on a rollercoaster: their keys, glasses, teeth, etc. And we lose things in parenthood: our minds, our haircolor (or hair in general) our body shape. But the ride, as crazy and scary as it is, is so worth it! Like a rollercoaster, hopefully we are strapped in next to a great spouse. There are also a bunch of other people on the ride. Each experiencing their own reality, but still on the same ride. We go through the ups and downs, screaming and laughing together. Our ride gives us a chance to talk and laugh and cry together, if we will reach out to each other. And hopefully we will encourage each other on the long clicks of the uphills that we will survive it and everything will be okay and tell the others lining up, looking at the ride ahead, "Don't be afraid, it is AWESOME. Just get buckled in with someone you love, hang on tight, and enjoy the ride!"