Parenting Happens in a Flash
It all happens in a flash. Our youngest turns 8 and counts the minutes until his friends arrive for backyard maniac birthday party. My eldest turns 21 and heads to Prague with his collegiate basketball team to inspire high school students to strive for an uplifted life. Then, of course, he’s taking the dozens of dollars he’ll have left to tour Germany and Austria for an extra week. (Ah, yes. No “SendMoney” phone calls coming from that one, right?) In the middle of our home-tribe, is a beautiful and high-integrity 15 year old part-young-woman and part-little-girl who is trying figure out how she thinks about smut on instagram.
Lots of parents who have a long span of years between kids’ Birth Days need to operate with a form of parental schizophrenia, flipping instantly between wacky personas like The Magnificent Mad Madam Mimm. “Eat your vegetables” from across the table, to a casual “How are your psych finals?” from 3,200 miles away, to sitting on the side of her bed asking, “do you really want to read some sloppy writing about imaginary girls doing icky things to Harry Styles?”
Our role with each of them is altogether separate and distinct, but at the same time, arduously consistent. Certainly we hope to be better parents as we grow in experience, even though the eldest would interpret my evolved calmness as Code Red Unfair Leniency. But for sure, even though we’re facing cultural situations that didn’t exist 6 years ago, my role as parent hasn’t changed. I thank God for a marriage that provides a healthy center, and a foundation that seeks unified wisdom in leading our kids.
Remember that ten years ago I was a living metaphor of “put the oxygen mask on your self first before attempting to help others.” I do know the importance of healthy parenting, no matter which box you check on the “marital status” question, and laughter is often still the best medicine. Bottom line: we do our best to teach them to be independent, thoughtful citizens and inspired God-seekers.
But I confess this season is getting a little intense.
I drop off the youngest at the bus stop to hollers of “you can leave, mom” while he climbs as high as he can on the No Parking sign. Then I pull up the latest image (see above) of my eldest, perched on the edge of a cliff, hollering about his encounter with God and overcoming fear.
No ropes. Mother’s heart stopped.
It doesn’t get easier as they get older, just more rewarding as they learn to fly well.
I’m not foolish enough to think I can take credit for the success of my children. But with God’s help we won’t get in the way, or better yet we could effectively encourage the magnificent possibilities He has in store for them.
Today, though, the pile of concerns rises over my head and I certainly hope at the end of it, there’s a peaceful glass of wine over which I will ponder the joy of trusting and letting go.
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