Saturday, June 19, 2010
The Light at the End of the Dark Tunnel
When I was pregnant with my first child there were lots of unknowns. Starting with not even knowing that the constant feeling of "not quite right" meant I might be pregnant until the principal at the school I was teaching at suggested I might want to take a test, to wondering just what labor and delivery would really be like. Sure I had lots of women tell me things, some helpful, some scary but it didn't mean anything to me, I had no experience. After the first, though, that light at the end of the tunnel was shining more and with each successive pregnancy I knew what to expect even though each one was unique in its own trials.
Same thing with raising my children. Lots of moms who had gone before on the road of babies and toddlers shared with me suggestions for breastfeeding, keeping house - or not, baby food, potty training, watching tv - or not, how to handle another newborn while taking care of other children and many other aspects of mothering.
Same thing with starting to educate my children in my own home. How to do it, what to use, what not to use, not to worry (ha!), and a myriad of other things. I took all this advice, but the light of experience never went on for me until I was through the dark tunnel of life. At that point, I could see that all that advice was true to one extent or another in our life.
As I've moved along the road of parenting I try to keep the advice of others in mind. I try to remember that there is that light of experience that shines once through the daily grind of life. I've now had one more of those lights turn on this week, and fittingly it is once more with my oldest.
She has always been an extremely shy girl, afraid of storms, and always preferring to be near her family, not venturing out on her own. But that shell is changing and her father and I sit back and watch, amazed at the new, confident, young woman she is growing into.
First she willingly and eagerly wanted to work for a local campground this summer. Second, she willingly and eagerly wanted to play in the Dominion tournament last week. That meant she played with strangers, something she would not have been so eager to do six months to a year ago.
And this past week was the most impressive to me. She attended an orchestra camp. It was daily from 9am until 3 pm. She chose to do this even though she knew that the rest of her family would be gone three of the five days attending a Catechetical Conference in another state. We arranged to have her stay with friends in our congregation while we were gone. On one evening, she watched their two year old while the mother took her son to Taekwondo and the father was at meetings. This was the evening that major storms went through our state, with several tornadoes touching down in various places. She said the sirens went off and she stayed in the basement (finished and where most of the toys are located) with her and it was fine. Really? From my daughter who all these years had been so afraid of any storm, somewhat inconsolable, now in a different home by herself in charge of a two year old saying it was fine?
The light continued to glow brighter as we watched her play in the concert on Friday evening. It was a great concert and we taped it so we can enjoy it again and again. But to see her enjoying herself, interacting with other participants, telling us about her week brought tears to my eyes and her father's.
Our sweet little girl, so shy and wanting to stay right by her parent's side for all these years, is blossoming into a confident and beautiful young lady. Other parents have told me this would happen. I knew in my head that it must be true, but that light of experience had not yet burned bright as the dark tunnel of life had yet to be traversed.
I know there are many dark tunnels yet ahead. I know from others that there are lights at the end of those as well. I know I'll worry and fret through some if not most all of them, but for now I'm basking in the light at the end of this one.