Craig Fear, followed by resolve.
It was the sequence Deborah Gann faced five years ago when encountered with divorce.
"It kind of hit me right between the eyes," she said. "It was scary.
The emotion was intensified on account of her three children - Alisha, then 16, and Chandler and Addison, 11 and 6, respectively.
"Learning how to be become the mom, the dad, the sole provider - it was a mortifying thought," she said.
She was not alone.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 10.4 million single mothers were living with children under 18 years old in 2006. That number was up from 3.4 million in 1970.
Gann thinks being among that number isn't always easy. As a single parent, she said, she is the sole support for her family.
Still, in Gann's view, parenting in whatever circumstances demonstrates a level of maturity.
"You get to the point that you realize that you're done being nurtured : and you're now a grown up," she said. "The torch has to pass."
And, being a parent has its own rewards that offset the struggle of doing it alone.
"I think it's the greatest job that there is," Gann said, "raising kids and teaching them how to be productive, honest, caring, responsible people."
Tammy Rogers, another single mother, can relate.
A divorce about 12 years ago required Rogers and her two children, Cassie and Cody, then 5 and 3 years old, respectively, to make long-term adjustments.
Rogers currently is a Moffat County High School special education paraprofessional. She works close to home in the school her children attend.
It wasn't always this way.
Rogers used to work in Steamboat Springs, spending many hours away from home, she said.
As the children grew, they took on household responsibilities while Rogers worked. Those responsibilities included running errands, dropping off bills and doing laundry.
Meanwhile, Rogers provided for a family, financially and parentially.
"I think it's a constant worry," she said. "There's never a backup.
"Everything stops at me."
During that time, something has developed between this family of three.
While sitting with their mother in an office near her high school classroom, Cassie and Cody engaged in a first, then a second, round of thumb wars.
They sat close to Rogers. Occasionally, Cody bent to kiss his mother's hand.
"I think we're pretty chill," Rogers said. "The three of us hang out a lot together."
Attending her children's extracurricular and church activities takes up most of Rogers' time.
Actually, make that almost all of her time.
"I only go to their activities," she said. "I don't do much on my own."
Rogers said her faith in God has supported her during the past 12 years.
As for the future, dating doesn't appear on Rogers' list of things to do.
At least, not right now.
"We're used to being just the three of us," she said. "I just think it will be hard for someone else to step in."
One of Rogers' highest priorities now, she said, is raising Cassie and Cody.
That task became a little easier when Rogers came to work at the high school about three years ago.
Although the children's chores didn't disappear completely, Cassie said, she and Cody don't have to help out as much as when Rogers was commuting to Steamboat.
Cassie, now a MCHS senior, is OK with that arrangement.
"Now, whenever we need anything, she's right here," she said.
Rogers' next task: Watching first Cassie, then Cody, a MCHS freshman, start lives of their own.
At that point, Rogers said, she looks forward to meeting two goals.
The first is completing her bachelor's degree in elementary education, followed by her master's degree in special education.
The second: Becoming a grandmother, eventually.
Still, Rogers isn't in any hurry for her children to leave the nest.
"I could not be a prouder mom," she said. "These are two amazing kids right here."
Bridget Manley can be reached at 875-1795 or email@example.com