My story for J Hardy Carroll’s intriguing picture follows it. Jump straight there if you don’t want to read some of the musings that almost certainly fueled its creation.
This parenting lark isn’t easy. Sometimes it feels like a constant weighing between immediate gain and long-term gain – taking a toddler to the park is nice, but wrestling a toddler out of the door to go to the park, then out of the park and back home, means you spend roughly as long cajoling / arguing / negotiating (and therefore making him unhappy) as you do playing (and making him happy). Is it worth it? Equally, when a baby can’t sleep because his teeth hurt, or a preschooler can’t sleep because it’s so much more fun to recite endless stories / TV shows, you can spend as long, and as much energy, persuading them to lie down and rest their poor tied body as they get back from the eventual sleep. But if you don’t, you have a cranky child making both of you miserable for the rest of the day. Is it worth it?
So I’ve been thinking about the long-game and the medium game, and the immediate game, and I still have no idea, but when you read my story, I think you might get a sense for how I feel deep in the jungle!
Forget the wood, focus on the trees
Stepping onto the path, she looked ahead, then tightened her grip on the little hand that rested in each of hers. Beyond the trees, a thousand uncertainties away, their destination was invisible and unknown. Some said it was a restful place they would enjoy together; others that they would be separated; and still more that there was nothing there at all.
Whatever the truth, for now, she had only the path. The path, and two little boys clutching her hands in the sure and certain belief that she would guide them, help them, carry them through whatever it might hold.