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By Kimara - Posted on 19 February 2008

           I have a rather metamorphic euphemism that always begins with “Things will get easier after (fill in the blank)”. Tim chuckles when he hears me say that (he loves me despite my inability to grasp reality) and my daughter begins a series of counter hexes as she laminates, “Why do you always say that? Every time you do something happens.” And there, my friends, is the point of this week’s blog…in life…something always happens!


            As a preschool teacher I’d listen sympathetically, often downright empathetically, to parents talk about their current stage of child rearing. Although individual grievances varied, and not as much as one might think considering the uniqueness of each family, one element seemed to remain constant…the optimistic hope, that around the next corner, things would get easier! “I can’t wait ‘til Alexa is out of diapers. It’ll be so nice not having to tote around the diaper bag anymore!” And, “I’m sooooo looking forward to Brandon sleeping through the night. How long can someone survive with sleep deprivation?” Or, “I think Jacob will settle down a lot when his speech improves. I know he acts out so much because he’s frustrated.” Truth be told, those are all wonderful things to look forward to, and far be it from me to burst their bubbles by saying, “Sure, but wait until he starts having trouble with a bully on the bus, or she just doesn’t get “addition”, or he experiences developmental regression when the new baby comes home.” And almost as unthinkable as having the human race evolve a third arm…I guess it would probably have to be two new arms so we wouldn’t lean…is the thought that this preschooler will one day be driving and dating…the scientific explanation for the graying of hair!


            So, I’d listen quietly, give a compassionate smile and head bob, then say things like, “Gosh, I know. You feel like you’ve lost 30 pounds when you stop carrying a diaper bag.” And, “Nothing beats a good night’s sleep, does it?” Or, “Can you imagine how frustrated you would be it people didn’t understand you?” And I leave their fantasies untainted, because, some days, that’s all that gets us through. And, because after all my sagely years, I’m still a cockeyed optimist! To chide parents for their naivety would definitely be the pot calling the kettle black!


            So, as a species, we look forward to how perfect our lives are going to be “AFTER” we get through “NOW”! But, it’s always now, and “afters” are just the new “nows”. (This is either totally Zen or seriously demented!) Anyway, the point is, the secret of true happiness isn’t reaching Nirvana, which I’m sure is plagued with its own tribulations, but enjoying the journey. My mom always said, “Bloom where you’re planted.” That was quiet the advice coming from a once seemingly shy 14 year old uprooted from her small Texas town and plopped into the Detroit school system! She had to pull on some serious latent fortitude to make that transition and survive. I’ve heeded her advise over the years, but interpreted her counsel of “bloom where you’re planted” to include time as well as space.


            I was once chatting with a friend of mine. I’m not sure if I was having a bad day or if she was. It was unlike me to complain…being everyone else’s rock…but given a weak moment, I was bemoaning something. I was utterly shocked and taken aback, when, instead of sympathy, she said, “Big deal. That’s life. Suck it up and move on.” Okay, it was NOT the warm, fuzzy reception I was expecting, and for the briefest of moments my feelings were hurt. Then I found myself grinning. She was right, and her response, was much more useful than the pity I was expecting. Life is nothing more than a series of challenges, some more taxing and humbling than others, but it is this string of events that gets fashioned into what we so glibly refer to as “living”. Fortunately, spattered throughout our days are those briefest of moments, when all seems calm, all seems bright. I strongly advise you to amass all the sanity, all the energy, all the self confidence that you can from those serene moments, and store them away in your internal battery, to be used as backup later when you need a little extra oomph to get you through one ordeal or another!


            This is not meant to be a “downer” blog; quiet the contrary! Life is good, and we are able to embrace life, with all its highs and lows, because we are strong, and we can take the challenges, rise above them, and given just the tiniest of distance, can find humor, or at least peace with them. NOW is the AFTER we so lustily coveted yesterday. Truth be told, feels a lot like THEN doesn’t it? So we survive the move, the loss of a beloved relation, our child’s terrible twos and the extra 8 pounds that we can’t seem to shed. And we focus on our daughter’s first ballet recital, the promotion we’ve been working so hard to achieve, and the perfect peanut butter cookie we just had over coffee with a friend. Probably the axiom I used most frequently with my children as they were growing up was “Don’t wish time away.” Tomorrow will be here soon enough, with new challenges, so make it a personal choice to “Seize the Day!”


            In the realm of “Do as I say, not as I do”, I find myself saying at the ripe age of 53, life will get easier after we finish remodeling our kitchen, I mean after my mom’s surgical biopsy, no, no, I mean after I’m through menopause…or not! Sometimes delusional optimism still gets me through the day, but I have learned that tomorrows look a heck of a lot like todays, so I might as well smile, or at least give a confident grin knowing life is a series of “ever afters”. Might as well make them happy ones!


Life is continually unpredictable and challenging. (If we personified “Life” I’d also give it an over active sense of humor!) Given the stage you are at now, how would you complete this sentence…Life will get easier after…and what survival techniques do you use to get through your hairiest days?

This is such an amazing story and I'm glad that you shared this with us. A good read and I can feel your thoughts and how wonderful such experiences you have. - Nova Science Publishers

Wow Kim I do believe I'm hooked - that is so how I like to live - today is such a gift --that is why it is called the present--everyone has ups and downs, that is just a fact of life, but taking those down times and trying to turn them into something positive uses less energy than to get lost in the "woe is me". Life is what we make it. By the way, I so enjoyed our time the other night and be sure to say hi to Tim for me...have a great week and I'm sure I'll be stopping in next Tuesday. roe

I probably shouldn't comment this week because there is nothing that I'm currently looking forward to the ending of. I am pretty happy right where I am right now. I feel so lucky! Now, 4 months ago, when we owned two houses and no prospects in sight of selling the old that I wouldn't have minded being over sooner rather than later. But now it is, and today is certainly better than it was then! How did I cope with the stress at the time? I just tried to take it one day at a time, and realized that there was plenty of other things going right to be thankful for. If you have a minute, check out my new craft blog:

Good morning ;) I just want to say again how much I enjoy reading your blog. I can't wait to read it every week now. You are so funny and have such a great outlook. I know you mentioned you were a teacher but have you ever written professionally? You should! My current trial is a problem with my oldest child. He is in kindergarten this year. He went to preschool just fine but since the beginning of the school year he's fought going to school. I drop him off most mornings crying but when I get back in the car I cry too! He should take the bus but he won't get on it. The teacher says he's fine after a while but it's so hard walking away from a crying child! About once a week he has stopped crying so I guess I can see light at the end of the tunnel but it still breaks my heart. He likes school, just not leaving Mommy. It's weird because he did fine at preschool. I must admit I can't wait til he outgrows this. But you're right, Kim, I'm sure there will be something else to replace it! I'm going to try really hard not to let it bother me as much. Maybe if I'm not filled with dread every morning it will be better. As far as my coping strategy I like to paint. I don't do it as much as I did before the kids, but after the kids are in bed I'll go downstairs, turn on some soothing music and paint. Have a good week everyone!