If there's one word that describes the life of a single parent, it's hectic. Even though my kids are older now, it doesn't take much for me to remember that feeling of having too much to do and far too little time to do it. I thought I'd never have a moment of rest again. But here I sit in a quiet house, wondering how time could have possibly passed by so quickly.
I remember one typical week when I thought I'd lose what little remained of my sanity.
"Mom, you went to Noel's stuff last week. You have to go to my pom squad performance this Friday."
"No way, Serena!" argued Nikolas. "Mom is going to my gymnastic meet."
With my head spinning, I told all three kids to sit down. I walked to the living room, dreading what was sure to become a Schiller showdown. Why does it always have to be so overwhelming? Why does it always have to be so difficult? I thought as I steadied myself for the onslaught. Each child tried to persuade me to attend his or her activity, leaving me feeling pulled in too many directions. Finally, I managed to coordinate our schedules so that I could attend all three events. Everyone seemed satisfied with the results, but I was emotionally exhausted. That was Sunday.
The rest of the week was non-stop activity. Monday, I managed to get myself to one meeting and the kids to another. Tuesday was Nik's gymnastic meet. I arrived in time to see him compete in the vault event, his favorite. Wednesday night meant school for me and a quick dinner for the kids (I'm sure glad they never got tired of Happy Meals!). Thursday night was Noel's ballet practice, and Friday night brought Serena's halftime performance with the pom squad.
As I drove home from work on Friday, I hit heavy traffic. All I could hear was Serena's reminder to me that morning: "Mom, you can't be late! I need your help with my hair!" Pulling into the garage, I raced upstairs to see the panic on her face. We made it on time ? barely.
By Sunday night, I already needed another weekend to recover. "Lord," I prayed, "I'm not ready to start again. When will I ever have time to myself? I am tired of this routine. I'm tired of hurrying. I'm tired of scheduling. Please help me get through the week ahead."
Now those days of rushing are behind me. And the truth is, I miss them terribly. Three months ago, I watched Serena walk across the stage to receive her college diploma. Waves of precious memories (and yes, the not-so-precious memories, too) flooded my soul?gymnastics meets, ballet recitals, pom pom performances. I reflected back to the daily grind of what felt like the tedious and overwhelming pace of our lives. But those days really were precious. They were filled with tender moments and simple pleasures, like sharing my son's pride in his accomplishment, watching my daughter shine on a stage and helping my teenager get her hair just right. Those are the parts of being a parent that make all the chaos worthwhile.
Yes, life with children can be difficult, especially when you're on your own. Yet very soon, sooner than you think, you too will be asking, Where has the time gone? And the house will be quiet. Too quiet. Whatever you're struggling with today, take a moment and thank God for the precious gift of your children. Don't wish these days away. Just know that the Lord is holding your hand and he promises to never let go.
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