You never stop being a Mom. The times and the places simply change.
Our first born turns 21 in a few short weeks. Any our youngest is graduating high school in May. I marvel that two parents' genes can produce such different-in-every-way children. It’s like you take the collective gene pool, shake it in your hands like 3 pair of dice and what comes out is its very own version of personhood! One loves sports and a healthy lifestyle, the other is a Theater enthusiast and traveler. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Two things are true: when people ask, “Where did the time go”, the reality is, time indeed DOES fly when you are having fun! And what parent doesn’t have fond memories remembering their child’s milestones? First words. First playmates. Wasn’t it just yesterday I was putting them on the school bus on the first day of Kindergarten?
Now my “baby boys” tower over me and have facial hair!
The challenge to parenting is taking each child’s strengths and personality into account and figuring out the best strategies and environments that enable them to achieve success and confidence. Sounds easy doesn’t it! The problem I find is that the disciplines and parental strategies I use with one child only work with those sharing his particular temperament. Cookie cutter strategies are in no way a one-size-fits-all solution.
More times than I care to admit, I’ve felt like a parenting failure. I thought I had the parenting thing down with compliant child #1. That is, until compliant child #1 hit the proud age of 12 and suddenly stopped being compliant which included NOT wanting to spend time with dear Mom. “I know” became his go-to-phrase along with numerous versions of rolling eyeballs.
How is it you can be a successful business woman yet a child's teenage years can bring you to your knees?
Fortunately Child #2, although he was a difficult child through his adolescent years (while Son #1 was compliant), blossomed into his teenage years with a happy-go-lucky demeanor and a desire to include Mom in his high school years. So it looks like I get the best of both worlds. One child was a dream baby who turned into “Mr. Know-it-pretend-like-you-don’t-know-me kid, yet the next one was a challenge growing up, and lets me into his High School world. I’d say that’s a pretty balanced equation!
While enjoying Child #2 at home, I don’t feel sad for Child #1’s independent choices. He is ‘living the dream’ at the college of his choice, still informing me that “Geesh, he knows, Mom” yet it’s a pleasure watching him walk through life with such confidence. And I know he loves me.
What a thrill seeing the exuberance of college youth. Looking at their world through fresh eyes. Why shouldn’t they enjoy these carefree years? The realities of life will meet them square in the face soon enough.
It’s not always easy communicating with our kids. Maybe because they don’t react the same way we would, or hold the same things in high esteem as we do. Yet I’m proud of my children and all they have accomplished. Sure they haven’t done things the way I would have. The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do is give up trying to control the choices my children make. You hope and pray the upbringing you’ve given them will “stick” as they venture into new territories.
I got to hold them for a while and now I get to watch him fall down and pick themselves up in different ways than they did when they were toddlers. Yet the theory remains the same. You never stop being a Mom. The times and the places simply change.