|My two oldest (and teenagers!) on Confirmation Day|
I loved story time at the library, craft projects, trips to the beach and pool as a little family unit. My kids loved it too. Today I asked each of my children what would make this a great summer for them and I was a little heartbroken to realize that I no longer make the list. For so many years I was a central figure in the lives of my children. They were my little ducklings, in fact, one of my children walked so close behind me that when I would stop he would run into me. But they have each emerged onto their own stage and while they love me dearly and need my support, they are not following my footsteps any longer. They want to walk ahead and create their own path. As a parent, I want my children to be independent and successful as adults. I didn't realize how quickly the pulling away and charting their own course really began.
I struggle to engage with my teenagers as people nearing adulthood. Gone are the days when I could snap my fingers for quiet, demand pushups for fighting or disrespect, or sit them on the timeout chair. They are not little children and the discipline techniques that once ensured tranquility and obedience now create resentment and embarrassment. I struggle to not correct them the way I would have when they were 7 years old. I struggle to view my children as they are and not as they were. My oldest daughter is beautiful and strong - she is no longer fragile. My son is smart and much more socially capable than I give him credit for. My little is no longer 6 years old - she is on the cusp of pubescence. I am no longer needed as a general, a stage manager, or an events planner - I am needed as a listening ear and a mentor.
I am the mother of three great children. But behind every great child is a mom that is worried she is messing it up.