Since the birth of our first child almost 3 years ago, there’s not been much downtime to process exactly how life has changed. It’s just now beginning to hit me how much of my old life has been lost. Our closest friendships look radically different, a chronic tiredness has settled in, free time has become an oxymoron, and the kitchen is never clean no matter how many times a day we work at it. That’s not to say it hasn’t been a wonderful journey thus far — it has! But it also doesn’t mean the loss isn’t real. The question is whether or not that loss has been acknowledged and grieved.
I think every parent faces a similar struggle in one form or another. Parenthood has a way of changing life to become unrecognizable from what it once was. If a part of us is still holding onto the hope someday the old way of life will come back to us, I imagine a cold dissatisfaction will slowly crawl into our lives. Unacknowledged dissatisfaction plants seeds of resentment throughout your life and starts growing weeds of anger ready to trip you up at every turn, ready to blow up at insignificant details. Or maybe that’s just me. But sooner or later, I think we all come to discover everything in life is teaching us the art of letting go.
If you can relate, stop and ask yourself what have you sacrificed. Have you grieved that loss? As I’m discovering once again for myself, we can only fully embrace the hidden jewels in our new circumstances when we say good-bye to the ones we found in the past. Specifically name what’s changed for you and give yourself permission to grieve that loss. Let the old wash away. Let it be laid to rest with honor and dignity. Let it go. Now our hands are open for something new — and if the smiles and giggles of our children are any indication, I’m sure it’ll be worth many more than what was originally lost.