The past two years have been challenging for most of us in several ways. Some challenges were temporary, and others seem to be permanent. Some have caused hardships, but others made us stronger. I posed this question to my fellow bloggers, “What are some challenges you’ve encountered that you were unsure you could handle but then surprised yourself?”
I can think of several, but here are the major ones I’ve encountered.
Having and raising children.
I don’t think there’s a parent alive who wouldn’t agree that parenthood is a huge challenge. I always knew that I wanted to be a parent, but during the nine months before my first biological daughter was born, I experienced a lot of anxiety as I doubted my ability to handle the job. What if I forgot to feed the child? Or what if I accidentally left him or her someplace? There were so many things that could go wrong.
My mother apparently had the same misgivings about my child-raising ability as I did. For the first month after I went back to work, she came over several times a week to make sure I didn’t accidentally leave the baby home. I never forgot to take her, but there was one day when I left my purse at the babysitter’s house and took the diaper bag to school. Fortunately, all my children made it to adulthood.
Writing a book.
I’ve always liked writing stories. As a child, I would staple sheets of paper together into a book and write. One summer, some friends and I decided to publish a neighborhood newspaper. In school, when teachers would tell us to write a story, I’d fill pages and pages with adventures and descriptions while my friends complained that they couldn’t think of anything to write about. That went by the wayside when I went to college, started teaching, married, and raised kids. But then I discovered reading was a great way to escape from everyday stress. Occasionally, I’d read a book that was awful and said I could do better. Finally, I decided to go for it and joined a writing group. And then I joined another one. And then… I finished a book. Now I can’t imagine not writing.
Navigating life as a widow.
Since New Year’s Eve, things have definitely changed around here. My daily routine looks different. It’s a lot quieter, since I only turn the television on during Jeopardy and when there’s a show I really want to watch. For the last five months of 2021, an oxygen machine running was a constant noise that I sort of got accustomed to hearing. And there’s no one around to talk to unless I pick up the phone or call someone on FaceTime or Zoom. I have to make all decisions myself, and sometimes I don’t feel like making them.
On the other hand, some things are simpler. I have only my own schedule to worry about, my own appointments to make, and my own bills to pay. When I go somewhere, I don’t have to keep calling home to check on someone else or worry about whether or not certain things were done. When I purchase something, I don’t have to consider someone else’s likes or dislikes.
I’ve never considered myself dependent on another person – not since I was a child, dependent on my parents. But seeing how my mother and other strong women in my life change drastically into weak unmotivated people after losing their life partners, I wondered how I would cope. My husband and I had a good partnership, so after forty years, it’s an adjustment to fly solo. But as I’ve done with other challenges, I’ll manage.