October 9, 2013

The Ride of a Lifetime

As my kids have gotten older and I have finally found a stable job that I enjoy, I have found that my life has settled into a happy sort of chaos. We have our lazy, no expectation days followed by double-booked days and events that spread us out away from each other, and then back to those moments of welcome boredom. It's in those quiet moments that I take a look around at my kids and think, "Life is grand."

I navigated the roller coaster ride of child rearing with nary a scratch and have children who are funny, kind, smart, caring, and a joy to be around. I survived raising 3 children who are all close in age--and I've kept them all alive! I endured the around-the-clock feedings while dealing with depression. I stayed sane when my newborn daughter would wake up at 3am hungry and her cries would stir my Autistic 2 year old, who would then stay awake the rest of the night. I managed the twists and turns of teaching little human beings to eat with utensils, talk, use good manners, read, tie shoes, get themselves dressed, and how to use the potty. Through heart-wrenching drops and climbs, I've learned to navigate the world of special needs and how to guide my son and his siblings through it. My kids are great students, are active in church, have friends, care about the world around them, and are just good people.

And with their ages at 10, 13, and 14, I do realize that my ride on the parenting track is far from over, but I can't help but think, "Parenting? Dude, I've got it down."

Wouldn't you know, just as I'm about to strain my arm from patting myself on the back, the teenage years rear up and come at me, and they are armed with a wicked set of brass knuckles. My confidence is shaken, my methods are questioned, and my joy becomes the silver lining on an otherwise cloudy day.

I'm not prepared to handle serious teen issues. Isn't it enough that we've pulled through the world of Autism in tact? Then again, maybe surviving that particular Fun House was just preparation for what's ahead.

So I return to the ride, have my ticket punched, get strapped into the car and hold on tight as the ride begins.

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