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Challenge: Stretched Too Thin

The Middle

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It’s funny how a single snapshot of time can represent a lifetime of precious memories. My moment happened when I was sitting with a night nurse in the Emergency Room. One year ago to the day, this nurse was comforting me after delivering my daughter. My baby. The last. The caboose. Whatever name you give it, I knew this was the last time I would be in the maternity ward cradling the newness of life. The nurse mentioned to me that she doesn’t usually work in the maternity ward and that it was so different for her. Fast forward a year, this same nurse was comforting me as my father’s life was slowly being restored. She didn’t remember me from a year ago but I certainly remembered her. It was at this moment that I realized I’m in The Middle.

Being in The Middle is being pulled in two very different directions of life. Picture this: A crawling baby pulling at your pant leg while spoon feeding your father. I knew this day would come at some point in life but I guess I thought I would be beyond The Middle when it happened. I thought I would be able to focus on raising children before caring for my parents, but here I am - the knot in the middle of a tug-o-war rope.

I don’t consider The Middle a bad thing. I can appreciate the moments that happened and look forward to the moments to come. There’s no identity crisis. I’m not craving a new sports car or a big adventure but I do think about Botox for these wrinkles. I don’t have a six pack anymore but I’m still in good-enough shape to play with my kids. I would give anything for an hour of complete silence but feel really uncomfortable without the constant hum of little ones. The true definition of a paradox.

Being in The Middle has taught me that life is sweet, family is precious, and patience truly is a virtue. I can finally see beyond 40. I have new ideas of how I want life to be when my children are in The Middle. Maybe in a few years I’ll crave that Mazda Miata convertible as I drive off alone into the sunset, but for now, home with family -young and old- is the only place I want to be.

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