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OPINION: This, too, shall pass — cherish it

by Cassie McClure | May 24, 2021 at 1:50 a.m.

I remember the first thought I had about what I believed would make me a grownup. I imagined that instead of standing up on my tippy toes to turn on the faucet and wash my hands, I would just lean over the sink. It would be glorious.

I remembered Early Me's thought on a random day years later, when I reached for the knobs to wash my hands. A yearning to be that age again pricked at me from the little acorn I had been. Time was translucent, as if both versions of me existed in the same moment. I could still feel her frustration at a large, looming world.

That largess of the world seems strong now, too, particularly during the overwhelming moments. The admonishments you'll hear during a stretch of bad time are similar -- "someday, things will be different." You are told that "this, too, shall pass" or "it won't stay like this forever." But sometimes I wonder what we're losing when we're not sopping up the last bit of all our experiences, even the bad ones that make us unbuckle our belts and curse our lack of resolve.

The transition from who we were to who we become is not always under our control.

Right now, those thoughts are muddled in the moments when my kids decide that screaming is the high art of their childhood. One recent Sunday morning, I went to refill my coffee and noticed the children piling on top of my husband, letting out piercing shrieks of delight. The coffee hadn't kicked in yet. I slowly closed my eyes to brace myself against the present moment and kept thinking that "this, too, shall pass."

But I know that a quiet house will be a different house, and I'm not ready for that yet. The older tree I may become might have sent me a message just then.

I am also warned that at some point, my husband and I will be insufferably uncool. The good news — which he and I have agreed on — is that neither of us has been anywhere near the pinnacle of cool.

But something about being a parent emboldened us to unfold into ourselves as different people, sturdier trees grown from the decisions we had made. The inherent uncoolness also colored a distinct appeal for us to be cool parents to our kids.

My daughter told me offhand that her friend on Zoom asked if she had a cool mom. "I told her you're super fun," she said. I was taken aback and asked for that in writing.

We became how our kids see the world. That alone is a heady satisfaction that changes you. I can only imagine the fluster I'll feel when I'm no longer the one who can give any answer my kids will accept as an abbreviated fact. I already compete with Google — when I don't know something, my daughter remarks wryly, "Just ask your phone."

I don't mind not being the last part of the forest they venture through; they will need to walk to other areas before they can grow. It shows me how, as a parent, I learn from my kids as much as I teach them. I'm learning that relationships shift and change, and titles reconfigure.

It's "Mama" first for boo-boos. Then, perhaps it moves into spat-out grunts and, then, outright teenage derision.

But it's the final transition I look forward to, much as I anticipated reaching down toward the water in the sink: that moment when I hear "Mom!" and am called to come out for coffees and beers and we discuss the limitations and joys of a society in which they, too, will find that things shall pass.

Cassie McClure is a writer, wife/mama/daughter, fan of the Oxford comma (sorry, Cassie) and drinker of tequila. Some of those things relate. She can be contacted at

cassie@mcclurepublications.com

Print Headline: This, too, shall pass -- cherish it

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