Parenting is a job you never retire from but those little people grow up.
They grow up and, well, they’re grown. You’re still a parent but your children are adults. In theory they’re adults. They’re eighteen or older, but they’re not quite adults yet.
They’re not like the teens still in high school either.
And you’re still a parent.
I’m spending a lot more time with this girl now.
Alice the GSD is two years old now. She is the new family dog. We lost our sweet Jasmine three years ago after twelve years. She was the dog the kids grew up with. She was the dog who grabbed our hearts and souls like no other.
But Alice is the personification of sweetness and love. Now she is my shadow. She is the one who now goes everywhere with me. She is my constant companion.
But back to non-dog creatures…
It is difficult to write about parenting now because everything changes. Some parents tell their kids to move out as soon as they turn eighteen (I think those kind of parents are assholes.) Some kids never leave and are content to live in their childhood bedroom with the single bed and posters on the walls and have mom make grilled cheese for them forever (in that case the kids are assholes.)
Most kids I know are somewhere in the middle. They’re going to college or trade schools, or working, or volunteering. Many are stressing out over how they’re going to pay for school or cars or rent.
A few are stupid and now are finding themselves with minimum wage jobs and babies on the way, but those aren’t the ones I’m writing about today. That is a subject I’m not even going to touch because I’d be mean, judgmental, and make people cry.
But for the most part most kids are growing up, and it is like learning to swim or ride a bicycle. They all do it on their own terms, in their own time, but they know they have to do it. Sink or swim. Fall off and get back on.
They’re having their first serious relationships. They’re falling in love. They’re angry because they are evaluating their childhoods and judging their parents. They’re discovering people who aren’t like them. They’re doing wonderful things and exploring their worlds. They plan trips without us. They working. They’re voting. They’re pulling away. They’re turning around and letting us (parents) know they still need us.
Since the beginning I’ve written about letting your little birds fly. Soon the only ones left in my nest will be a couple of cats, a dog, a husband, and empty bedrooms for when my babies come home for visits.
I miss my children so much. But I rejoice and treasure the adults I’ve raised. I’d never go back if given the choice to have them small again. I have one more year and another one will be miles away on the other end of a very large state.
So where does that leave us as parents?
You have to let go. At the same time you still need to be there 24/7 in case they still need you.
There will also be changes. They’ll pull away. Hopefully they’ll pull away some because that is part of growing up. But hopefully they’ll stay close.
Like I’ve been saying forever – just keep talking with them. Let them know their thoughts are important. Let them know you understand their fears, and if you don’t understand, then listen but don’t judge. Remember when you were young. I swear I don’t want mine to be like I was, but rather than jumping all over their young butts I encourage them, and again talk to them. And it isn’t like they’re never going to do something weird, but you just have to take it one thing at a time.
No matter what they’ll be, and who they want to be. They’ll be who they need to be. Learn from your mistakes when helping them learn not to make those same mistakes.
I’m just talking and musing today. The the best parent you can be so your kids will be the best they can be.
I know this is simplistic but it seems to work.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman