Version 3.0 – This, too, Shall Pass
Filed Under (Friday - Fun and Family)

Given that I already had a son and a daughter 17 months apart, it came as a surprise to many when I gave birth to a third child almost five years later.  Curious relatives wondered why my husband and I would add to our ‘perfectly traditional’  4-person family.  We entertained ourselves with various responses to this query.  My favorite explanation compared our third child to a software upgrade – ‘Dunham, Version 3.0′

Many times in my daughter’s six years of life I’ve chuckled at how aptly this description fits the situation.  As with a software upgrade, you expect to recognize the basic program but anticipate both improvements in performance and ease of function.  Exactly how I would describe parenting the third time around!  Primary functions like bathing, dressing, and feeding were all familiar to us.  But now these activitites were easier, more streamlined, and less dramatic.  The transition to this new parenting program – family of five – worked so efficiently that we hardly noticed a change.

Repeatedly, we are reminded of the gifts that come with version 3.0:

  • Same concerns but considerably less obsessive worrying and self-doubt.
  • Ability to pick battles wisely.
  • Recycled hardware.
  • Proactive systems in place which means less wasted time on discipline experiments.
  • Confidence in ancient wisdom such as, “This too shall pass.”

When my husband discovered me awake for the fourth consecutive sleepless night with newborn version 3.0, he asked, “Why aren’t you crying?”  To which I confidently replied, “because I know this won’t last.”

I used to fear that Version 3.0 would be somehow less exciting.  On the contrary!   Knowing that version 3.0 is our final upgrade makes it that much sweeter.  Every milestone is celebrated and cherished.  Each challenge is accompanied by patience and understanding.  Without the glitches of earlier parenting programs, there is increased space to enjoy the process.

Which is why, when I got into the car this morning and found a glittery sticker on each side mirror, I smiled.  In years past I may have scolded a child for placing stickers where they ‘don’t belong.’  But  this time around, I am acutley aware of the impermanence of these precious childhood whims.  This time around, I can see my six year old as the butterfly that she is, flitting around, spreading joy to everything she touches.  I can absorb the beauty of it now, appreciate it, and remind people that this too shall pass.

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