My son and daughter-in-law became foster parents to two toddlers, three-ish and two-ish.
They had no children of their own, and not a ton of experience with kids this young. But they dove into the training required of them and then lots more.
I had no idea what their parenting style was going to be, because my son had vowed—even while acknowledging we were fantastic parents—he wouldn’t do many of the things we’d done with him and his siblings over the years.
Imagine my surprise * when he confided that he learned SO MUCH about us in the few short months he’d had the girls, and we saw him doing many of the things we’d done with him and his siblings over the years.
*not surprised at all
But I was certainly surprised at what natural parents they quickly turned into. They didn’t have the luxury of a long pregnancy that resulted in one tiny lump who didn’t even turn over for several months. No, they received two small, fully-functional people with mobility and strong opinions.
Now don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of glassy-eyed stares, sleepless nights, and steep learning curves, but they figured it out.
They’ve truly surprised and delighted me with their resilience and imaginative problem-solving.
One example is something my son says to the girls when they’re struggling with a task. He doesn’t rescue them, instead reminding them, “You can do hard things.”
I’ve heard the older child remind her younger sister when she was having trouble building a tower of blocks that she can do hard things.
I’ve heard her remind my dog Nala when she struggled on the stairs that she can do hard things.
It’s a lesson the girls can fall back on the rest of their lives. I can do hard things.
It’s a lesson I’ve taken to heart too. I can do hard things.
I hear my son’s voice in my head when I’m struggling with a manuscript, or wanting to quit my workout, or facing some professional hurdle.
Of course, all bets were off when I tried to install the car seats I bought for my car. Turns out, I couldn’t do that hard thing. Luckily my son could!
But car seats notwithstanding, it’s a mantra we can all use.
You can do hard things.
What hard things have you tackled lately?