Photo Credit: 
Cheyenne Belew | The Chronicle

As an incredibly anxious and overly excited new parent, the first thing on my mind was making memories with my little pod. The first item on my list: Christmas. I became a mom on Dec. 2, and I was determined to make that first Christmas picture-perfect. Although I was still recovering from an action-packed delivery, I wanted everything to be how I always envisioned it would be. To me, perfect meant my husband and I holding our newborn in front of our scrappy little Christmas tree, drinking eggnog and singing Christmas carols.

To my chagrin, that Christmas Eve would turn into an adventure over which I had little control. The events which took place that night are hard to relive without feeling completely and utterly helpless as a new mother. It is hard to put the words helpless and mother in the same sentence because all a mother wants is to control what happens to her baby, especially this momma. I mean, I had been in charge of keeping this little human alive for less than three weeks and now this. Ice, ice and more ice. Then no electricity. That year, it was a notorious Oklahoman ice storm that made the headlines, not Santa.

The power was not projected to return any time soon. The lines were unreachable in most areas by road. I did what any new scared mother would do, I panicked. How would I keep my son warm enough? What would we eat? Did we even have firewood? My husband hadn’t let us use the fireplace at our house, fearing the mess it would create (yes, he is a clean freak, and yes, I still love him). Our only choice was to try to outrun the worst of the storm and make it to my in-laws an hour away. We traveled through an ice storm that would go down in local history as the worst ice storm of the decade.

A parent’s influence

My newborn son was unaware of the potential danger in store during this trip. He completely trusted and depended on us for everything on what would become a four-hour trek. Don’t worry. We made it thanks to my husband’s four-wheel-drive truck (one of his redemptive qualities). This journey to safety would be a teeth-clenching experience neither he nor I would ever forget. In order to make it to safety, we had to go through the storm, with all its uncertainties. As the shaper of little lives, a parent greatly influences their child. Although my first Christmas as a mother did not turn out to be a silent night at home with my newborn son, it challenged us as new parents to make the best choices for our child’s wellbeing. We were forced to keep going despite the bleak outlook and trust that things would turn out okay.

The impact of our decisions

I think back to that journey when I was unsure if my little family would make it to our destination alive. I consider the importance of each decision my husband and I made. Those decisions would forever impact our future and his. Which roads we chose to take, which news updates we listened to, which people we chose to stop and help, endangering our lives in the process.

At times, we couldn’t see in front of us because of the ice and snow. Other times, we slid uncontrollably and had to fight to regain control. We tried to stop a few times to see if stranded motorists needed help. Countless vehicles littered the ditches — lights on, doors closed, and windows fogged. Waiting for help. We even managed to pull one car out of a ditch, despite nearly getting sideswiped by the vehicle behind us. We jointly decided that would be the last car we stopped to help. We could not risk another accident with our newborn son in the truck with us. We had to forge on to protect our child.

Keep going and trust

Despite the perilous circumstances that surrounded us, nothing hindered us from reaching our destination. We made the decision to keep going even when the path was uncertain. We had no choice. We had to trust that we would make it. It is with this brand of determination that parents can lead their child through similarly difficult times.

During this post-pandemic world in which we find ourselves, parents must take the reins, making the best choices for their child. Even when we have no control over our situation (work at home, school at home, church at home), we must keep going, regardless of what is dealt us. Parents must choose to believe that things will be okay at the end of all this. It is a choice. That choice will affect the well-being of the ones who depend on you. Choose to believe it will be okay and keep going no matter what. Forge on with your children in mind. Just think. In 10 years, will you be able to look back on this pandemic season and smile?

After all, we still have memories to make, COVID-19 or not. Christmas is a mere two weeks away and it should not be any less joyous than previous ones. Afterall, the Christ child is come to bring peace on earth! So, let us celebrate together and document this special season in true American fashion with way too many pictures and a handful of oversharing posts on social media.

Contact Cheyenne Belew at thechronicle@hillcom.net.

RAISING YOUR CHILDREN