Doing Life Together
by Elsa Kok Colopy
I used to be jealous of my sister-in-law, Carol. She was so calm and composed with her three children. They’d get wild; she’d rein them in. They’d drop things; she’d gently correct them and help her kids clean things up. They’d refuse to eat their food; she’d patiently walk them through the paces until they were spooning up spinach like it was chocolate.
I was parenting on my own, and getting my girl to sit still long enough to brush her hair was a chore, much less getting her to eat slimy, green vegetables with a smile on her face.
I was nearly at the end of my rope when this simple truth hit me: You could learn from her, you know.
Carol was a wonderful woman, gracious and kind. When I stopped resenting her for her parenting perfections, I gained an opportunity to grow from her knowledge. I humbled myself and asked for her help.
I spent seven years in the same town as Carol, and as soon as I opened that door, our friendship blossomed. She came alongside me as a mom. She loved my girl and me. She modeled good discipline and taught me as I watched her love her God, her husband and her children. Just being around her made me a better single mom.
She was my parenting partner, my friend.
By the end of the season of life we had walked together, we loved sharing our parenting journey. We went through the hard stuff, but also laughed until our bellies hurt. One of my favorite memories comes from the story times we did with the kids. We’d gather all four of them and one of us would start the story. The other would jump in after just a few lines, and then back again. We came up with the craziest plot lines and the wildest characters! The stories rarely made sense and more often than not, we’d all end up on the floor laughing until the tears ran down our cheeks.
I’m so glad that my pride didn’t get in the way of building my friendship with Carol. Goofy stories and all, she made a profound difference in my life and in the life of my daughter.
Elsa Kok Colopy is a freelance writer and speaker based in Colorado Springs. She’s the author of six books including, The Single Mom’s Guide to Keeping it all Together (Revell, 2010), available at MOPShop.org. Sign up for her blog GodHasDimples.wordpress.com.