I have learned that it is much more difficult to parent older children, especially adult children, more so than smaller ones. I’m not downplaying the difficulty of raising little ones. Raising little ones is more of a physical drain whereas raising older ones is an emotional one. Yet, all of is more gratifying than most anything else you’ll experience in life.
I remember those days when my kiddos were little and learning to ride a bike. It was hard in its own way but mama had control of it all. When your kids are older, you must parent with little to no control over their lives. Letting go is hard.
Within one week, my oldest got engaged, my youngest went to his first prom and he also turned 17. It feels very surreal; like being in some sort of time warp or maybe an out of body experience. At times I feel like I’m hovering above my life looking down and not really even recognizing it. It seems like everything is changing all at once but I guess that how life goes, right? “Children grow old and then they leave.” -Parker Millsap, Homeless. Just sitting over here trying to adjust.
Summertime is here. School is over and it was time again to drop my teens off at the airport to fly across the country to stay with my parents for a month. Letting go is never easy and lately I find myself having to let go of my teens more and more. It’s such a stark and drastic difference to go from a life that revolves around them to an empty home. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the alone time with my husband but it’s quite the adjustment. Letting go is like ripping a band-aid off in one fail swoop. As they get older, I find myself trying to balance that need to protect them, but also giving them the room to make their own life decisions. This is particularly difficult for me with my 17-year old who is on her way to senior year, making college decisions, and has a long distance boyfriend coming home for the summer. We are on the peak of so many very important life decisions for her. Some that will impact her for the rest of her life. It is exciting, scary and sad all at the same time. There are more emotions than I could ever begin to express. With God’s grace, I just do my best to find that balance and walk closely with both of my children on each of their journey’s guiding, supporting, and, yes, sometimes letting go.
I find that as my children moved from childhood into adolescence, the exhaustion moved from physical to mental and emotional. But, it’s worth it. It’s worth every single moment that I have invested whether that was cheering for a victory or crying alongside them in defeat. They always say that a mother is only as happy as her happiest child. I find a lot of truth in that. As a mother, my heart and soul is poured into each of my children so whatever they go through, I truly go through it along with them. Mothering a teen is hard but it is also incredibly rewarding. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.