Parenting….it is not easy at any age. It is certainly not for sissies, that’s for sure. I honestly thought it would get easier but I was so wrong.
When you become a parent, each kid comes with the ball of clay that I call the “problem ball”. When they are infants and toddlers that ball forms the shape of hunger, dirty diapers and helplessness. As kids age, the “problem ball” stays the same size, it just changes shape. Frustration, seeking independence, bullies, friends, school……they all take turns shaping that “problem ball” but it never gets bigger or smaller.
Kids become teenagers and teenagers become young adults….all the while reshaping that “problem ball” and all the while that ball remains the same size….it just nevers gets smaller or goes away.
When our kids are born, we parents have hopes and dream for them….but what we begin to realize is that those are OUR hopes and dream NOT theirs. They may or may not even know they have their own! As our kids get older, they may slip and fall. They might make mistakes…….ok honestly…mistakes are a given! And while we feel the need to constantly protect them, we can’t. At some point we need to let go. We need to release them into the world. We need to allow them the space to make those mistakes and fall…..just like we did when they were learning to walk. We need to allow them to learn from those missteps and be a safe, nonjudgmental place to recover from the fall. This is often difficult because we feel the need to protect our kids. But are we protecting them or handicapping them? Are we creating a generation of kids who are insecure of their own abilities because they have never been given them opportunity to recover on their own from a mistake? Are we forcing our kids down the ‘high school/college/grad school/marriage/kids” path because WE think it is right for them or it is because it is what they want? Do they know what they want? Are we smothering them into constant dependency? Are we more concerned with our kids liking us/being our friends or helping them become adults?
I often say I feel guilty for not doing more to protect my children from the abuse in our home. When I voice these feelings to them, they reassure that I did the best I could with what I had at the time and now I do better. They are stronger humans than I could ever have imagined. The path each has taken is not what I hoped and dreamed for any of them but it is they path each has taken on their own. They have created their future. I have created a nest for each of them to return to when they are ready, they want it or they need it….no questions asked.
As a mom, I feel blessed that they grant me grace and allow me to be a passenger on their journey of life, but mostly, my heart swells with pride for each one of them as they are good humans.