My role in my children’s lives has changed drastically over the last several years. They are all young adults now and I find that I’m no longer refereeing fights, but I’m helping the three of them figure out who is taking which car where. With each passing day they are becoming more independent, more self assured and more responsible. It’s what I always wanted for them, yet it breaks my heart.
I’m coming to the point in my life where I am no longer as needed as I used to be. I have more freedom. I am able to pursue my own interests. I can spend time with my husband…my possibilities are endless. And like I said, this is what I wanted, until I had time to think about it.
Yesterday, I knew my husband was meeting with some colleagues for dinner, which meant I would be alone with my son. Both girls are taking summer classes, so it was me and the boy for dinner. I thought we could go out, get a burger or some pizza and talk. He does talk when he’s alone with me and I was looking forward to it. It was not to be. He had to be back at school for a student government meeting, but the oldest girl was home—her class was cancelled. I'd take her to dinner instead. Nope. She had plans with friends. Middle girl? She had lab along with her class and would be out for hours. I was alone. Just me and the dogs. Heaven you think?
Nah. I lost it.
I’d had a bad day at school, and I’m stuck in my manuscript, and I wanted company, but no one was around. Now, I’m a dedicated mom. It’s one of the things that I’ve never had a problem with. I’ve made good decisions with the kids; I've spoiled them when appropriate, but none of them are afraid of a good day’s work. They’re good students, they volunteer and I’ve encouraged them to be independent. And it was last night that I discovered I’d done a really good job because while I needed them, they didn’t need me. They were out dealing with their own lives.
I guess this post is about recognizing that sometimes doing a good job, and getting what you want, can hurt. I miss my little children. I miss reading them stories and cuddling with them in front of the TV. However, I am very proud of the adults they have grown to be. This parenting thing is a double-edged sword and while I know that every step they take is a step away from me, I also know this is the right thing. Because as sad as I am that I will never have them little again, I have a wonderful relationship with my adult children.
So for all you parents out there, I know you hear this over and over, but enjoy your little ones. The time does fly, but understand that the loneliness that comes when you can no longer tuck them in at night is a sign you’ve done a good job.