Since becoming a parent, I’ve found myself muttering, “I had no idea how hard this was.” I’ve even admonished my friends for not warning me about the challenges of parenting. I wasn’t ill-prepared but rather naive on the feat of wrangling a small and feisty powerhouse. I feel like I should warn my friends who have yet to have kids on the joys and possible tears ahead.

But, if I’m honest, it wouldn’t have mattered.

Perhaps it might have helped to know that I would not sleep for almost two years and experience fatigue I never knew was possible. Who knew my life would suddenly revolve around dirty diapers, burping and spit-up? I might have wanted to know that I would spend hours wondering if my kid had colic or if it was something I was doing wrong. Someone could have warned me that my child would detest the car seat or anything else restricting making travel that much more exciting.

But, if I’m honest, it wouldn’t have mattered.

This journey is difficult, but it’s unlike anything I ever have known. It’s rewarding in ways I never thought possible. It’s not about being warned about what’s to come but rather enjoying the magic of the moment. It’s been a lesson in living and enjoying the process since I have no idea what might come next.

When I think of what I might want to pass along to new parents, I am left with this simple truth: This has tested me in countless ways and has challenged everything I know about myself.

But, if I’m honest, it doesn’t matter because it’s a love that I never knew existed.


Caroline Lalive Carmichael moved to Steamboat with her family in 1995 and joined the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. After one season, Caroline was named to the U.S. Ski Team and competed for 13 years, attending two Olympics. After retiring in 2009, she returned to Steamboat as a coach. She and fellow Olympian Nelson Carmichael were married in 2012 and welcomed their daughter, Freya, in 2015.