I remember the first time Big Guy rode a big coaster. We had taken him to an amusement park, warning him that he might not be tall enough to ride. The park had one of those “You must be this tall to ride” signs and your height determined just what rides you could go on. Big Guy was just (and I mean just) tall enough to have access to all the rides. And he knew exactly where he wanted to go first – the newest, biggest, fastest coaster in the park. Ugh!
We lined up for over an hour, Big Guy excitedly chattering away about how cool this was going to be. With every inch, my nerves grew. I’ve tried to like roller coasters but without success. So when Hubby and Big Guy sat down and strapped in, I kept right on going. I heard the rest of the story after the ride. Halfway up the first hill, Big Guy told Hubby, “I want off”, but it was too late!
Becoming a parent can be like that. There’s the waiting and anticipation for this new life; the physical and mental preparation as the date gets closer. There’s a mix of excitement and fear, and often one panicked moment when you want everything to stop and let you “off”. But it’s too late and the ride has already begun. And when it’s all over, the elation.
As a parent, each day, is it’s own ride…anticipation, excitement, fear and elation. Sometimes we scream and want off; other times, we settle in and enjoy the ride. Or worse, some parents just “chicken out”.
Last week involved a few roller coaster rides for us – there were lows and highs, laughter and tears, and one sleepless night. I wondered if my heart could take it. I’ve already endured so many bumpy and painful rides watching Big Guy grow up – I was so young, blending a family so challengeing. The rides with Little Guy already seem so much less harrowing than with Big Guy, but a lot has changed. I’ve changed.
I’ve learned…how well I fare in the ride depends on one thing:
It has nothing to do with my height or my weight, or the number of years I’ve been a Mom. It has everything to do with where I place my knees at the beginning of the day (or the middle of the day, or the 27th time in a day when I start to feel nauseous and overwhelmed). If my knees are firmly on the ground at Jesus’ feet, I’m tall enough to ride. My heart is strong enough. And in the midst of the ride, I can find joy and grace, enough to last every ride until the end of my days.
Today is just another ride, and I’m learning to like this roller coaster.
“You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it…” – Grandma, Parenthood
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This has been a 10 minute post…where I write for 10 minutes with no editing on any topic…memories, mayhem or maw ha ha moments.