Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Time passes

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.


  1. What a lovely post! I'm sure it is a difficult transition. And yes, the time does fly. Everyone told me that, and I didn't believe it. Man, does it fly!

  2. Ah, Jeannie...please visit this woman's blog: http://bit.ly/9IEA5f

    She had a very rough day today, and I'm sure your post will cheer her up. I know it helped me!

    This is beautiful, and I feel terrible for wishing away these petulant years w/ my little ones. From here on out, I'll definitely think about your post when the going gets tough! Thank you so much for reminding me how precious these days are w/ my munchkins. Tory

  3. Elizabeth-the transition is hard, but most days I really enjoy the changing relationships. I've raised some extraordinary people. I do believe they are my best work.

    Tory-I was you, once upon a time. I would wonder when they would be out of one stage or another. Being the mom of small children is exhausting, but I bet the smiles you experience far outnumber the difficult days.

  4. Wow - this post is so relevant to me right now - thanks for saying such beautiful things about how painful all this growing up can be. My 16-y/o daughter is leaving our home and moving in with her father (we divorced 10 years ago and so it's been just us girls since then - apart from every-other-weekend contact with her dad) so it's hitting me hard. These are her last 2 weeks here and I know I shall be bereft. Thanks for this. I'll hold onto the words.

  5. Debs, Your comments just broke my heart. Hang in there and make time to love yourself as you transition into this new phase. Thank you for reading. J