Those Parenting Moments That Come Out of Left Field

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Over the past couple of years I’ve encountered some parenting moments that seem to have come from left field. Or at least it feels that way.

I’m not talking about the tantrums.

Or the glimpses of the hormones that seem to emerge at the onset of the tween years. Or even the friendship woes and homework. (Ha, and I thought my homework days ended when I finished school!) Or the fact that my 3-year-old seems to have lost her “listening ears.”

Those are the things I expected or at least came to terms with because they just happen—they’re what kids do and are common among children everywhere. They weren’t necessarily things that I prepared for, but they also weren’t enough to cause me to lose my footing, send me on an excursion to find a great parenting book or schedule a session with a counselor. A good Google search and phone call with a friend to find a sense of camaraderie was usually enough.

But then there were the unexpected milestones and moments and the occasionally questionable hand of cards we have been dealt. These are the occurrences that leave us scared, worried, unprepared and unequipped. They leave us standing there in shock or at the very least confused. It’s like I’m living the life of a parent on a TV drama minus the perfect ending. Even real life is filled with cliffhangers.

Still, I’ve stayed in the game knowing that it’s OK if I haven’t figured out our game plan yet. It’s OK if I’m not sure how to handle the unexpected. It’s OK if I stand on the sidelines catching my breath for a minute, knowing eventually I’d muster enough strength to get back in there.

There have also been days when I just wanted to observe because I felt under-qualified for this role. It’s almost as if I had become too confident and suddenly dropped the ball, or after trying and trying I was out of energy and void of a game plan. These were the days that I was grateful no one was watching because they might see the same thing I saw:

I hadn’t the slightest clue what I was doing.

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