By Susan Knight
It seems like, when you’re a mom with small kids, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.
It’s dark, lonely, hard, exhausting.
Raising young children is physically grueling. There’s the lifting—into the high chair, the car seat, the crib, our laps . . . then there’s the sleep deprivation.
Coming up with activities for short attention spans uses a lot of brain cells, and sometimes reading that same book for the millionth time takes every ounce of patience—and overworks our own attention spans.
Temper tantrums, crying tantrums, pouting, whining, tattling. . . the worry during illnesses, diaper rash, and poison control calls.
Many a night is spent on our knees pouring out our aching hearts to H.F.
Did I do that right?
Was I too strict? Too lenient?
Am I a good mom?
Are You listening?
Older mothers who know tell us raising babies and running ragged chasing toddlers around the house was the best time of their lives.
I scoff. . .
A pen light glimmers far away at the end of the tunnel as first steps and first words take our breath away. Our hearts soar.
Finally, potty training is a success. . . . a little flicker of light, as from a match, appears. It’s something.
Kindergarten registration causes our knees to buckle and we look for the nearest landing pad. Tears flow.
Homemade Mother’s Day cards, fingerprint mementos, and pressed weeds adorn walls and fill dresser drawers and scrapbooks.
How does a mom’s mind grasp the idea of not volunteering at elementary school anymore when the youngest moves on? A flashlight in the distance guides us. We warily follow.
Piano lessons, karate lessons, ballet lessons, band practice, soccer practice, musical rehearsals, football games, competitions—all put endless miles on the car, and may create a little time for reading and writing of our own. The light at the tunnel’s end appears larger, shining like a beacon from a lighthouse, beckoning, warning, cajoling. We want to go there, but . . . it's a little scary, yet enticing.
High school graduations dot the calendar for a number of years, followed by missions, college graduations, weddings . . .
It’s so overly bright as we walk out of the tunnel. We shield our eyes from our new identity and this vivid, new world we find ourselves in. It's exciting . . . but still . . .
Now that I am one of those mothers who know, I tell my younger counterparts, “I’d give anything to be in that tunnel again.”