Some people are convinced that seven is a lucky number. Others consider it even a magical one. The seven seas, seven days of the week, seven continents, seven colors of the rainbow… there are even seven dwarfs for crying out loud! For me, seven is magical for one especial reason: I just completed seven years of parenting and it feels great!
It’s feels like finishing the first mile of a running race. That first part is always a challenge. To start something is hard, and like in a running race, parenthood starts rough. For moments you feel you are out of breath, you need sips of water from time to time, or even you have to stop and take it easy. Other times you feel the need to run faster, then you realize there is a beautiful landscape on the horizon and you just stop to enjoy the view… Suddenly, in the blink of an eye you cross the sign that says it’s your first mile, and even though you know it’s only the beginning of the race, you have that certain sense of accomplishment and rush to keep going, because above all, you are enjoying it.
When my daughter blew that candle a few days ago it came to me like a striking bolt. The realization that it’s the beginning of a new era. That little girl will flourish into a young woman by the end of the next lap. Here is the thing, I am not saying that parenting is a race in all the sense of the word, because heck no, it isn’t. We are not competing, we are not trying to get there faster, and btw it would be a never ending race. What I am comparing is the sensations, the feelings we go trough, and the resilience we experience which in both cases makes us better runners or better parents.
After the first mile though here is a thought. You are certainly more confident. You have learned to find your pace. You know how to breath, when to slow down or stop to catch your breath, or even when to run with someone by your side if needed. You are not the person that started the race. You have changed. You are stronger, and your mind is clearer. And let me tell you something. Finishing that first mile happens so fast that you realize that because you were so focused on acquiring perfection you forgot that the most important thing is that you really need to be focus on the road and the journey instead. In parenting it doesn’t matter if you have all the gadgets, the perfect cadence and speed. So for the next mile this is what I will do. I will focus on my heart, let my children’s voices be my running playlist, being sure that every step I make is progress. I wont mind if I fall because I know now that I can always get up and keep on going, and if my shoes get worn out, I can always run barefoot. The important thing is to enjoy the race, you have all the memories and amazing experiences of the first mile, so get out there rain or shine having the certainty that with every step forward there is only smiles, kisses and hugs as a reward every single day and nothing, absolutely nothing compares to that.
So here is to my lucky number seven, and the miles to come!!!