We can ALL do hard things

While in the pursuit of a goal over the last year and a half, our family learned more about tenacity and perseverance than I could have imagined. Because it was a professional goal of my husband’s, I didn’t realize the imprint it would make on us all. I had forgotten the fundamental truth that the four individuals here really are one functioning unit. By watching him as he took in seemingly endless amounts of information, starting early in the morning and staying up late many, many nights, it gave me an insight that hadn’t occurred to me about hard work. The first part is recognizing that something is hard, saying it out loud and understanding that truth as valid. The second part is to keep working hard. Operating on autopilot only gets you so far; the key to progress is to not only keep going, but to infuse that momentum with a purpose, with passion and with a plan. I am pretty good about the first part…

Last year, Big Sister was in first grade and pretty miserable. Though she wasn’t struggling academically, she was having a hard time adjusting to the shift of things. I had gone back to work part time and it was bothering her that I wasn’t home a few nights a week. My husband was working a side job and devoting a ton of time to taking more classes and studying all the material he could. Her little sister was a full blown threenager, taking up so much attention and patience, there were times where she felt the full force growing pains of where we were at that moment. One morning, as I was in the car line to drop her off, she started crying and asking to stay home from school. A kid in her class had been on her teacher’s last nerve for days, she changed her mind and didn’t want the lunch we had packed earlier, she forgot her jacket and she just didn’t want to go to school. Though I am all for taking a mental health day, she had taken three of those already over the last few months and I felt that it was important to enforce that she could dig deep and get through her day. Because the car line inches along so very, VERY, slowly, she was able to do a complete 180, turning her pessimism into hope for what the day held. Curbside, she opened the door and bounded out of the car, waving to me and smiling brightly. Beaming and buoyed by my obvious triumph at mothering, I watched that gorgeous, gap toothed smile. I watched as she watched me drive away, then I watched as she walked full force into a concrete pole.

Pulling into a parking spot I was silently cursing everything; the pole, my foolish thinking that things actually work out, the idea I had to wear my pajamas – because, you know, no one would see me in them and I would be going straight home with Little Sister after drop off. (I have taken liberties with the term pajamas to include faded and paint splattered tee shirts my husband uses to mow the yard in and yoga pants that would never make it through a yoga class due to exhausted spandex and general misuse– please tell me you have at least one pair of these in your repertoire – ). I got out and picked her up into a hug, bringing her back to the car, where I had already decided I would take her home. She closed the door and let out a rush of “STUPID, STUPID, DUMB, STUPID, DUMB, DUMB, DUUUUUUUUMMMMMMB, DAY”! As I let her rant, I noticed something. She wasn’t crying and her backpack was still on. Seconds later, she threw it with all her might and then picked it right back up. “We’ll go home”, I tried. She shook her head and then she said something I will never forget. “Dad can do it, he never gives up. I can do hard things”. He had shown that to her. In his repeated and consistent practice of working tirelessly toward a goal she had learned an invaluable lesson. By letting her see his sacrifice and thanking her for hers along the way, he showed her without preaching about it, clarifying it in fables, and alluding to it with bite sized analogies built “just for kids”, we can all do hard things. I walked her in full of pride for where we were at that moment in our lives. When we got back in the car, just Little Sister and I, she looked up and asked if she could tell me something. Ready to be blown away for a second time in one morning, I nodded. “Ders a hole in your pants and I seed your butt, I think”, she said.07.04.07 003


3 thoughts on “We can ALL do hard things

  1. Bahahahaha!!!!! The perfection here is overwhelming. It has all the best (and worst) qualities of real life. Thanks for the positive realization and encouragement in the midst of struggle.

    And I, as well, need to rethink my pajama choices…. And most of my wardrobe of yoga pants and tanks, aka the mommy uniform 😉


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