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Wisconsin Parent

Essay on Parenting: Life Unexpected

Jan 12, 2014 02:36PM ● By Brooke McGee
Dreams can slip away slowly, one dinner and one load of dishes at a time. As desperate as we may be to make the sun stand still, time moves on, unforgiving to our balance of wants versus responsibilities. Time robs us of our ability to accomplish all that we desire, and with it, forces choices. Looking back, I wonder if many of us really would change much if given the chance…

Sometimes, it can seem like dreams and potential slip away as quickly as an ice cube in your lemonade on a hot summer day. Life, it just… happens. Life, well, it gets in the way. Or does it? Isn’t that… life? Certainly we all have dreams and though all of our goals differ, we all have something that we just… haven’t… reached… (yet?)

Whether we want to admit it or not, each decision has been and will be deliberate. We are rarely forced to do something- we choose. Even as responsible adults and loving parents, I think we can all say something similar. We can all point out the nights where we sat around eating pizza and watching movies as a family instead of tending to goals. A fishing trip with Dad instead of homework? Of course! Until you realize it’s bedtime and still not done. Oops… The evening you had a headache and relaxed instead of forcing something off the to-do list was (at the moment) thought well spent.

Looking back, we count these hours. Depending on how critical you are of yourself, you may feel as many have- frustrated at the “missed opportunities” that add up. The rigidity of a precisely scheduled day is not something I personally enjoy. Scratch, that, what I really mean is that as a parent, there are times I can’t plan my days. Oh wait, that’s universal, not just me.


The unforeseen and the unpredictable seem to conquer most days. The sudden slip of a five-year old on a freshly mopped floor suddenly turns your catch-up time into an Urgent Care trip. An anticipated purchase may suddenly be thrown off by a mechanical failure that takes precedence in the family budget. Oh, summer break is, wow, a whole three months, don’t you say?

Life happens, and the inability to plan precisely for the unexpected oftentimes leaves you frustrated. Even worse, it can leave you discouraged. That’s when you need to make a choice, you need to decide if you are going to let it keep you down or roll with the punches, or side step the dog poop, which ever it is for you.

The best part about life is that dreams and goals are still obtainable. Exactly when and how they happen will likely evolve just as much as how they developed in the first place. And when they do, they will likely again be shuffled around and be forced to fit on the platter of life. It may be routine at times, but as a parent, it certainly brings along the unexpected. “Life is life, Mom,” my young daughter always tells me. I can’t wait for the day that I can tell her just exactly how much she taught me by saying that.

Brooke McKeeThis story was written by Brooke McGee. In addition to her talents as a freelance writer, Brooke is an equally gifted artist. She lives in Portage, Wisconsin and is a proud mom of two beautiful kids.