Growth Spurts: Coasting
My favorite part of riding a bike has always been coasting. After working up enough speed, and with the help of a slight downhill slope, you get the thrill of the wind in your face and the joy of riding a bike…without the work of pedaling. [Author’s note: I hereby confess my laziness.]
I think there have been times along the road of parenthood that I’ve thought to myself, Ahhhh! We’ve been working so hard on raising these children, that I’ll bet all the hard work has been done, and we can take a break and just coast for a while.
This is the point in the article at which all experienced parents start laughing hysterically, because, you see, there is basically zero coasting in parenthood. There is always something to tend to, a person to feed, laundry to do, an argument to oversee, projects to finish, counsel to give, somewhere to go, a child to cuddle, feelings and emotions to sort out and talk through, and something to clean/wipe/organize/pick up/deliver/read and sign (and usually send money for)/schedule/prepare/mend…You get the idea. And since you’re reading this article, you probably understand, as well.
The more I think about it, however, I guess maybe there is some coasting involved in parenthood. It’s just more of the variety found at an amusement park, rather than on a bicycle. Some days may feel more like the coasters on smooth rails that are meant to bring enjoyment more than fear. Other days, however, may feel like a coaster with neverending twists, turns, dips, and flips, at a speed meant to evoke screams and white-knuckle grips. And some days feel like the old, rickety, wooden coasters that might not be scary, but they can leave you feeling kind-of beat up and tired.
No matter what coaster you feel like you’re on today, remember that change is sure to be coming soon. If you’re on a slow, uphill climb, use the time to catch your breath and prepare your heart and mind for what’s next. Ifyou’re in a series of loops and turns, roll with it as best you can; enjoy the fun parts, and be patient during the not-so-fun parts. If you’re on the frightening, scream-inducing, out-of-control-feeling, downward plunge…well, just hold on tight till it flattens out again. If you pray, do lots of that. And if you find yourself on the really fun, exciting, enjoyable part of the parenting coaster, don’t waste that time worrying about what’s coming; soak up the goodness! Because whether we like it or not, all coasters do have an end. Let’s enjoy the ride as much as possible!
Also, go find yourself a slight downhill slope and do some bicycle coasting. It’ll do your heart, mind, body, and soul some good.
Carrie Bevell Partridge rides all sorts of roller coasters with her kids.