Two months ago, we dropped our eldest off in the heart of the city, carried his life’s possessions up three flights of stairs, took some run of the mill photos, and said ‘see you soon’.
Now depending on who we mention this to, we get varying feedback. Some say, “that’s sooo young”, and some say, “well, of course!”, and some say, “I was married by the time I was his age!”. So, as usual, I stopped letting people’s personal views of our child’s choices influence my own.
As Ty has so carefully pointed out to me, this is what we’ve asked of him. We’ve asked him to have his own opinions, to see the world through his own lens. We’ve always given him choices and tried to empower him with tools to do so.
It seems that our evil plan has worked. We’ve created an independent human.
I could tell 101 stories about him, my bonus kid, but that is not the point of this project of mine. This is about life through my own eyes…..
So I’ll tell you that he is the one who taught me how to parent… how to balance the power between adult and child, how to create healthy boundaries while still being buddies … and I simply cannot believe that after all of these years of seeing him daily, he’s not here….
When E was small, we spent countless hours together. He spent his days building elaborate scenes in his bedroom involving tiny army men, little barbed wire fences (that hurt the bottom of a foot more than legos). Boxes and shoelace ropes were added to the barracks he created with lego creations were thrown into the mix. The best part of playing these games for him was being able to tell the closest grown up the inner workings of his mind/ the story of the game.
Let’s just say I did my best to keep up.
And I learned that although it’s important to listen to the little things, so they’ll want to disclose the big things, it’s also alright to say, “hey buddy, can I just have a few minutes to myself?”
Later, the toys were tucked into shoeboxes to be stored under his bed, while he spent his time trying out as many individual sports as he could. Much to my dismay, these varied from skateboarding to bmx biking to snowboarding. Throughout these years, I learned to accept that our children will get hurt, and that I can’t prevent it from happening.
And finally, in these last couple of years, I had to learn to let go just a little more as peers began to take up whatever time and mental space he had to share. Though he still sought our guidance and companionship, we had to give-way for the opinions of others who made their way into his life. This was hard, but together we learned about compromise and communication.
Raising a teen is hard, but not as hard as letting one go.
Though we spent many sleepless, worry-filled nights, and I shared many sessions venting with my parent-friends, and read several books out of desperation, there were also so many dance parties in the kitchen, nights of watching movies together, and silliness I’ll never disclose. I can’t tell you how many youtube videos I’ve been forced to watch about things I didn’t really care about, but he knew I’d listen, so he’d show me…he kept me current.
And now there is a young-man-sized hole in our home that we are slowly adjusting to, but with that hole comes a gem that most don’t receive in their parenting journey. I now know this is going to happen again. The next child will eventually spread her wings and head out into the great big world, and I’ve been given the gift of truly understanding how quickly this will pass. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to parent before my time.
Though, the time is now, my friends.
I know now, more than ever, that these are the best most bone-weary days of my life, and they are meant to be squeezed dry of every bit of life’s wonders.
And for those of you who truly fear the day your child spreads his wings?
Chances are, he’ll visit.
You might like to read…
- Why I Love Homeschooling August 19, 2020
- Building a Culture of Literacy August 11, 2020
- When Maggie Learned to Read August 6, 2020
- Homeschooling Basics Answered July 27, 2020
- 36 six trips around the sun. April 7, 2020
- Social Distancing: Notes From the Inside (of Our House) March 24 2020 March 24, 2020
- Social Distancing: Notes from the Inside (of our House) March 21 2020 March 22, 2020