Life Is A Roller Coaster!

Imagine that you have waited on line at Disney World for the placid boat ride through streams of beautiful flowers and dolls singing “It’s a small world after all”. After strapping yourself into your seat, your car moves forward with an unexpected lurch. You enjoy the gentle breeze, which slowly grows to become a near hurricane-force gust of wind, leaving your hair tangled in the wind. As you look around, you suddenly realize that you accidentally got on the “Scream Machine” roller coaster, and now you are strapped along for the remainder of the ride. A sudden downward spiral sends your stomach into a self-contained tornado, and another spin leaves you breathless, frightened, and hanging on for dear life.ride

Fear of heights not withstanding, the experience of anticipating a peaceful journey and being suddenly thrust into a tumultuous voyage can leave any of us gasping for air.

Let’s think for a moment: Isn’t that exactly how life works?

We plan activities and create expectations regarding how things will turn out.

And then things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes things veer wildly off the course we have charted for ourselves.

Yet, roller coasters can be loads of fun. Just like life, the rides are far more fun when shared with people you love.

While the thrill of a twisting drop may bring you a rush of exhilaration, there is no doubt that a similar sensation during a trans-continental flight would bring many of us to a state of panic.

The bottom line is that when you step onto a roller coaster, you are aware of the wild ride ahead. When you board an aircraft, you expect a calm flight.

That is precisely what happens as we plan each day. The assumption that everything will go smoothly creates a very specific expectation. When we encounter bumps in the road, it’s difficult to view them as “an exciting challenge” or “fun” since we planned for smooth sailing.

Each and every one of us faces a myriad of opportunities to remind ourselves that life is like a roller coaster.

Raising small souls necessitates being flexible, knowing that life- especially a life blessed with children- simply cannot always be a serene journey that runs precisely on schedule.

Sometimes the jolts and bounces in the road we call life actually teach us valuable lessons, educate us on crucial ideas, and enable us to experience fascinating adventures.

Please share YOUR ideas for making the most of all the twists and turns as we ride through these child-rearing years together.

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Comments

  1. Hi Ellen,

    I’m so glad that I read through this entire piece today. So many things have not gone my way- but I can look back and see so many blessings in disguise. Thank you for this perspective.

    Vera, mom of Ava-11 and Dylan-7

  2. Sometimes it is difficult to find life’s blessing when you are still on the plunge down the first peak!

  3. Wouldn’t U say that the problem arises with “us” creating expectations? Life is life, unless we change things around to fit them into our comfort zone so they become what “we” chose to call life. Or not?
    Many adults say work is not life. Life starts after work hours. And other niceties.
    Trouble is, our comfy zone is not the same one for others (including our kids).
    Helping our kids to see that life is not “a maths exam” but instead a journey of discovery, may be a good starting point.
    I reckon, we first need to understand that even our brightest kids can have moments where they behave as very slow learners.
    Therefore, if we learn to accept that there are “no guarantees” (no matter what the insurance guys like to advertise) we may enjoy the ride with all its ups and downs much much more, and by default we may make the ride much more true to life, acceptable and even enjoyable for our kids as well.
    Thank you Ellen for bringing up this point.

  4. Would you rather have life as a “merry-go-round” (same old, same old – round and round it goes) or like a roller coaster (full of excitment – a surprise filled with anticipation as you slowly climb up the hill; holding your breathe as you begin the descent and the comforting feeling as you coast to a smooth transition).
    Give me a life with some adventure!!!!

  5. I keep telling myself this very point that we as moms or should I say that I tend to put my agenda first not realizing that the day begins and what lies ahead is unknown.
    Thanks once again for the reminder that really its all about the little souls that we are raising.
    I know my daily ride can be pretty wild yet some times relatively smooth. Raising twin 6 yr old boys can feel like I am riding the wildest roller coaster.

  6. Put your hands in the air as the coaster plunges and twists around the track and yell yahooooooo!!

  7. Thank you for this timely article. As I feel like I am screaming my way down and through yet another one of those loop da loops, you have reminded me that yes I must stop and find the joy. I always believe there is “God Breezes” when you look for them. A time when something little will cheer you up and make you go aaaahhhh, I am so not alone on this ride called life. Life is what you make it. Thanks for the God Breeze

  8. So many children are progammed….so even the simplest things are chalenged. My triplet 8 year olds spent a reckless summer at a pool at the ocean and had a great time.I was by thier side but they were engaged. I am sorry and embarrassed to say that they did not do math facts or a lot of reading but their rollercoaster ride was socially learning how to engage.

  9. I am having the time of my life!!! I tell myself that everyday, several times a day. Working full time with three kids, every day I face many new challenges that come out of nowhere, total suprises. It is more scary for me to think that soon the wild ride won’t be so wild. Hang on and keep your arms and legs inside at all times!!!

  10. I am 56 years old, teaching special education preschool. I know one constant that always holds true. The only constant is CHANGE! Just expect it and embrace it.

    Sue

  11. If we never had a bumpy or hair-raising ride sometimes, we would not be able to appreciate and cherish the smooth rides. I know it is often difficult to see the light or joy in a hard circumstance but once life calms down to a panic we can look back and breathe a sigh of relief. Love your children to the max because soon they will be up and out on their own! Bless my boys.

  12. I enjoyed your article and it contained good reminders…but… as someone who neither enjoys flying (smooth or not) OR roller coasters, I have to add that not everyone is able to embrace the stress and jolts that come with raising children in this day and age.

    As such, I plan and control the things in my life that actually CAN and make sure to build in enough me time and other stress reliefs so I can handle the ride. Boundaries are a huge method of coping!

    I am raising two boys (7 and 5) and one girl (16 months). My eldest has significant neurologically based special needs and my young son has an anxiety disorder.

  13. Monika- I share your pain. My stepson (31) was just placed against his will in a psychiatric hospital in NC and we are in Germany, and my husband and I just wrote in our calendars “see Dr. B about S” (my 9 yr old daughter). the roller coaster never stops..

  14. Your article really hit home as the grandmother of a five year old austistic boy. None of the many supportive people in his life who love him dearly, anticipated the “roller coaster” this diagnosis would bring. He is the greatest love of my life, and has taught me so much about unconditional love and acceptance. We never know what to expect from one day to the next, or for that matter, from one moment to the next. It is a constant challenge and he is a constant source of love and joy. Thank you for the reminder!!!!

  15. Twists and turns are all about perspective. Having 7 children, I know everyday presents the opportunity for a “thrill” ride. The definition of “thrill” is only how frame it. Will it be exciting, upsetting, encouraging, disappointing, or the light at the end of the tunnel? I guess that all depends on me. My reaction determines how my children perceive …. “thrill” rides. HMMMMM….

  16. Thank you for your article. It is so true that some many of life’s aspects are like a roller coaster. We can accept them and roll with the flow or fight against the ever changing motion of life (which is really useless and a waste of precoius valuable time). I tend to try and control situations too much but my beautiful babies remind me that having control is not so important. That living is in the joy that comes from our children. I watched my son’s face at recent local fair when he rode the little dragon roller coaster (he is four). He just laughed the whole time….good example!

  17. When I saw the title of this article, I just had to read it. Our life over the last couple of years has been nothing short of one heck of a roller coaster ride! My beautiful son was born with a congenital disorder that affects all of his joints. As such, he was born with two dislocated hips. Just after his second birthday, he finally walked on his own (what a trip!!). When my husband left with our son for a hospital in the neighbouring province for a routine consultation for his hips, we never anticipated that he would become seriously ill and require hospitalization in a pediatric ICU room for five weeks!

    Just over a month after we returned home (with a much healthier child!!), we found out that we were expecting a second child (and our son still required extensive surgery for his hips). So this past month we trekked our entire family (3 year old, 4 month old, and Mom and Dad) back to the hospital (a 12 hour drive) for our son’s surgery.

    All I can say about this roller coaster life, is that it has taught to never underestimate the power and strength that we possess, because you never know the obstacles you and your family can actually surmount. Even though things have been crazy, at the end of the day I feel totally blessed (albeit very tired!!).