Ah, trying to fit such a topic into only 5 paragraphs will feel very limiting. However, the liberation of knowing I will choose only 3 highlights of such an all encompassing part of my life may provide a focus I rarely have while parenting. I believe I will focus on 3 aspects of parenting that bring both pros and cons, aka “Beauties and Beasts”. One I can think of immediately is this: You are your children’s main example. Another is the fact you watch your children grow. But, what should the 3rd point be of this little essay? Hmmm..let me think. Ah! I have it; When they begin to leave “the nest”.
We are going to assume you are a part of your child’s life in today’s topic, therefore they should be spending enough time with you for you to have a huge impact on their lives. For many, most the time spent will be in the earlier years, but for some families (such as mine) we have chosen to home-school. This means I spend a lot of time with my two boys. They see how I act. Whether or not I am lazy. How I respond to both the mundane and during a crisis. Watching me, they learn a lot. This can have both a positive and negative impact on how they proceed through their own day. Because I am not perfect, and they live with me, they have seen both the best and worst of who I can be. I would say my saving grace is; I keep trying. If there is one thing I hope to leave as my legacy as they observe and learn from me as an example, it will be “Never give up and always love others”. Hopefully, it won’t be “Cry and kick doors in frustration while screaming”.
Oh, the joy of watching your child go from wobbly headed newborn to inquisitive crawler…only to have you dropping them off their first day of Kindergarten. Wait?! Where did the time go?? Now they are doing high school curriculum, my daughter is working at the hospital, and my youngest has started looking like a..man? What…the..heck?! The parental pride and joy I feel as I get to watch my children grow into young men and woman is nearly always accompanied by missing being able to hold them in my arms and smell that perfect little spot on the top of their sweet little heads. That time is forever gone, but seeing them continue to care about others and take a sincere interest in being helpful to others really does help me through those bittersweet moments. Yeah, watching them grow definitely has it’s pros and cons, doesn’t it?
So, I’ve reached the point where one has already left the nest. I miss her every single day. It’s been a few years already and I feel quite blessed that I almost always see her each week. She comes over to eat lunch with me, lounge on my bed, raid the cupboards, and tell me the trials and joys of her “adulting”. Both my boys are even reaching a point where, though they still live at home, they don’t need me quite as much. This has given me some opportunities I did not have when they were younger and I had to constantly be on my toes just to keep them out of the oatmeal, which was on the top shelf of the pantry. You know, the one just inches below the bloody roof? Not being needed so much by your children as they become more independent can be both a thrill of parental excitement and pride, but leave one without direction. What do I do now with my life? Well, I suppose this blog might be part of the answer.
While I know this topic was not quite what my reader was looking for, if you read between the lines, you will get a lot of hints of how it is going with our family. Everyone is growing up! It has forced me to look into other areas of my life to find what will bring me joy in my older years. I will never stop being their parent and I will always provide the best example I can, or at least take responsibility when I mess up. I will always be there for them, even when they leave “the nest”. That’s the beauty of it all. The beast is I am coming to a new path in my life, but that has it’s own sort of beauty as well.