Friday, September 1, 2023

A Mother's Lessons

By Danielle Cote Serar

This Too Shall Pass

To say the last month and a half has been challenging would be an understatement and if I’m being fully honest with myself, I can say that 2023 has been a doozy for sure. Just to give an example, in the span of less than one month, I visited urgent care/same-day walk-in clinics 5 times, 3 of those in one week, personally had three major falls thanks to my two-year-old subconsciously trying to take me out, my 2-year-old son suffered a severe 2nd degree burns on both hands and forearms from a freak accident at the park, and we have had a debilitating cold from hell for probably the entire months of July and August making the rounds in our house. Not to mention, two vacations, school starting, and adjusting to life with a kindergartner and a not old enough for school unhappy toddler that he can’t go. And that was all in one month.

When I met my husband, his life up until that point had been pretty uneventful and if I am being fully forthright, predictable. But when we met, he was going through a contentious divorce in 2008, a year that I think most will agree left everyone in a void of unpredictability. “I just want normal” is a phrase that my husband would whine frequently, lamenting the days of routine and familiarity. But for me, that seemed so foreign.

Life for me had been a constant cycle of ups and downs, prosperity and poverty, and not just a financial sense, though that too was a factor in my world. My mother used to call it the wheel of life. Sometimes we would be traveling the upward spin of the wheel where things were good, smooth sailing, and prosperous in all areas of life, and then others we were traveling on the downward spin of life where the things that were challenging or went wrong outweighed the number of those going well. This was so true in my life from birth that I never questioned that anything else could be… that there was another “normal”. In fact, I believed fully that everyone experienced the wheel of life. And in truth, we do. See sometimes the wheel spins slower or faster than others, but the wheel does turn for everyone. My husband had been experiencing a slower turn of the wheel, and in hindsight, while the downward turn definitely sped up for him in 2008, the wheel had been turning down for some time… just slowly. But it was turning.

I can remember growing up watching my mom worry her way through the downward cycle, even though she knew it was a phase. I understood the worry she had. The irony was that she had taught me to find comfort in the wheel of life because this too shall pass. It’s a phrase she would say to me often. One I was recently reminded of and one that brings me solace and contentment when faced with periods of “ok God, what next”. Because I know, no matter how challenging, how scary, how upending the period in life is, this too shall pass. There will be an end.

Equally, in times of upward turn of the wheel, it helps me appreciate the joys and the highs more. It gives me remembrance of how fleeting this time can be, that it won’t last and I should soak up every moment I have of it. Because this too shall pass. In turn, it also helps soften the blow of going into the downward shift. I know it’s going to come at some point, it always does and I equally know it won’t last. And it’s in knowing that this too shall pass, that this is just the cycle of life, that most of the time when faced with the next fall or latest urgent care trip, that I can in good humor, shrug it off, smile, joke and remain calm through the storm.

The photo is my daughter on her first day of Kindergarten… a day and a period that I know shall pass all too quickly.

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