It seems like forever since the time before children were in our lives. It’s true what they say. Once you have kids you will not remember a time before them. It is a love like no other. I have simultaneously been looking forward to this moment and dreading it at the same time. Our last child is graduating from high school. The next phase of our lives is about to begin. As he leaves the nest for college, we encounter being empty nesters for the first time.
I remember well the moment I graduated from high school and left for college. I loaded up my car packed solid to the roof, backed out the drive way and never looked back. I only saw what was ahead of me – freedom. The opportunity to attend college, make new friends, explore life and live my dreams was thrilling to me. Now, I am seeing it from the other perspective. That of the parent who is watching the child spread their wings. Today, for the first time, I can fully appreciate how my parents must have felt that day watching me pull away.
Parenting children goes in phases. Everything is a phase. Getting them to sleep through the night, eating solids, crawling, walking, potty training (that one seems forever), pre-school, elementary school, middle school, high school, making friends, trying out for teams, making some teams and not some others, driving, dating, curfews, first loves and first heartaches, celebrating their successes and being the first hug when they experience defeat. Some phases are longer than others but as I tell all mothers of young children today, this too shall pass. Because it’s a phase. No one ever goes to kindergarten with a diaper on or a pacifier in their mouth. At times I thought these phases would never end. Now it all seems like a blur. Like time sped up and we suddenly got to the end of the ride.
This I know. The most important thing you can do to raise responsible young people is this. You must be PRESENT to PARENT. It seems simple but you would be shocked how many parents don’t get this right.
In order to continue to parent grown children well, you have to start to prepare for the separation early and for it to accelerate in high school. Eventually you give up the front and center position in their lives, learn to be quieter, to give fewer answers and to ask more questions. Our children’s independence is a reminder of a job well done. Isn’t that our biggest job in life? To raise incredible kids with character who are individuals that will thrive in life.
To my parents, please know how much I love you and appreciate how you raised me. And to my children, I hope we did it right. Seeing you thrive makes me think we did.
Ten things to look forward to as an empty nester:My house will always be clean I’ll discover that I still like my spouse I can sleep through the night The food bill will drop significantly I’ll have a lot more free time I can spend more time with friends We will get to experience our children as young adults The kids will come home to visit And then they go back where they came from The future is MINE! Tags: lucky