Parenting any age child comes with its ups and downs: the worries, pride, fear, sadness, joy, etc. And so much more.
There is the baby stage, when parents think they will never get another wink of sleep. And they won't, because once inducted into this society of parenthood there will almost most definitely never ever be another waking or even sleeping moment when you're not aware of your responsibility. You'll wake with a start when your kid whispers your name. "What? Are you okay?" When they are three-years-old and the temper tantrum is so extreme that you have to wonder if Satan didn't crawl into bed with you on that baby making night, and you decide that you will most definitely make your child stay in time out no matter what. And then after thirty minutes of screaming and kicking you give them the freaking M&M that they wanted and they shut-up. Immediately.
How about when they're ten, and the teacher tells you that your child thinks outside the box. They are "special" but not "spacial." True story. When the teacher told me that my kid thought outside the box, I was like, "I know. It's so awesome! Yeah. Right?" Ummm.... No. Apparently thinking outside the box is not a good thing, but being "spacial" is. Can someone please tell me, what the f... is "spacial"? Five years later and I am still wondering. As far as I am concerned, my kids are all special and those who are spacial can go off and become professional spacialists or whatever the hell they are destined to do.
I'll skip over the teen years since I have evidently erased all memory of those dreadful days. I can't remember a thing. But I have determined that parenting an almost nineteen-year-old is sooooo hard. No longer can I do a time out, or threaten, or take away TV, etc. I can do the old, "You have to pay rent if you don't do what I expect," deal. That does work, but it's incredibly weird to shift gears from parent to landlord. Hate it.
So there is this real strange thing that happens from 18-19 for young adults living at home. First is, Mom realizes that Mom can no longer be just Mom, unless she wants to be totally taken advantage of. Second is that there is a privacy factor and what Mom can cross and can't cross is.... Oh God, it's just this mixture of feelings of sadness, acceptance, confusion, and a general bundle of mother feelings that can really screw with you if you don't have something to ground you. Thank God I have my horses and a little kid still. As a mom of an almost ninteen-year-old, I feel like it's reasonable to expect his room and bathroom to stay clean, that he mow the lawn, take out trash, do his own laundry, and possibly a few small chores that may come his way. Oh, and could he please call me when he is not coming home? So far it all seems to be running smoothly and I can't complain since the kid works 20-30 hour weeks at Costco and is going to college. Good kid.
The hard part for me is when I call my child after I know he's been off of work or school for over an hour to ask when he'll be home, and to let him know there is a plate of dinner waiting, and he replies, "I'm with a friend." Grrrr......!!!! I wasn't born yesterday. I've called a few times in the recent past and gotten, "I'm at Paul's," or "I'm with dad," or I'm with Grace, "(who I know is a real friend). But when I get the vague, "I'm with a friend," it takes everything inside of me not to ask, "What friend?" "Who? "Where?" What are you doing?" Please tell me that you listened when we discussed safe sex. I am too young to be your friend's child's grandmother.
Watching your child transition from childhood to adulthood brings so many new boudaries and expectations and we have to adjust to that. And it's not easy. It's not special. Or spacial even. It's so flipping hard that I now understand what people really meant when they would tell me to savor the baby years, and that those are the easy years. And in retrospect, hey were easy. Little people have little problems, like wetting the bed, or sucking their thumb, or hating mustard. Big kids? Sigh. You have to deal with your child's first heartbreak (trust me, it hurts ten time worse than your own first heart break), paranoia about drinking, smoking, being stupid and above all, whether he is he doing any of that while driving. I don't care how fantastic and seemingly perfect your kid is; it is still on your mind. You can have a 4.7 GPA kid who gets pregnant while drinking some kind of fruity drink or doing ecstasy. No matter how great a parent you might be, our kids are under some serious pressures. Your word might not be the last.
So, if you are a parent, savor every moment they are around. Breathe them in like the blessing they are. Trust that God has a plan for them and for you. Just be thankful to be their parent whether they are nine seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months, years old.
I am now going to bed and praying that my almost nineteen-year-old will be home in less than nineteen minutes he promised.
Bless You and Yours,