Fall is such a beautiful time of year. The leaves are changing to hues of orange and red, and the animals are getting ready for the winter months. Funny I should experience my new season of life at this time. It feels as though I am getting ready for the hard, cold facts of an ever changing life. For eighteen years, I have reared children. My youngest is 13, middle is 14, and then there is my oldest. I have been preparing my children to grow into adulthood and become independent. I have prided myself in the fact that my children can do things on their own. Then it hit me, from out of nowhere, like a slap in the face. My 18 year old daughter moved out.
Whoa! Where did that come from? I spent all these years preparing her for this time, but neglected to prepare myself. What a terrible feeling. First, is the realization that I am old enough to have a child old enough to move away. Second, is the icy cold feeling of fear. What will she do? Who will make her pick up her things? Why now? So many questions and so many fears. I wish I had prepared myself while teaching her.
I had to pray and ask God for peace and wisdom. I needed the wisdom so that I could help others prepare themselves for this inevitable life change. As you teach your children independence, learn to be independent of them. Without my children, I felt like I was nobody. My whole life revolved around them. Don’t let your life revolve around your children. You are an individual person, besides motherhood, that needs to be independent of the name of “Mother.” Your children will be fine without you for a little while. Don’t stress. Leave them in God’s hands and make time for yourself and for your husband. He needs you as well, and when your childen are grown and gone, it will be just you and he…what will you do then? Make a life seperate from your children.
Don’t tell them everything. When I was on the phone, my children always asked, “Who was that, momma?” Actually, it really is none of their business. Don’t feel guilty, although it seems the moment you conceive, you live a life full of guilt-until death do it part. Your children should respect you and your privacy. If they grow up hearing and knowing everything about you, they will not respect the privacy of others. It will be a hard lesson for them to learn.
Love your children through thick and thin, but also allow them to learn. Never bail them out. Your children must learn that with everything there is responsibility. If they break something, they are responsible to replace it. If they mess up, they must bear the consequences. Yes, we can show them mercy, as God showed us mercy, but there are still consequences. Jesus died so that we could have forgiveness for sins, but we still suffer the effects of our sinfulness, the consequences. If you always bail them out, they will be very irresponsible adults.
It is so hard to see them grow up and move away, but it is also very rewarding when you know you have done everything to help them become responsible, independent citizens. No, you won’t be perfect, there are no perfect parents, but you can sure try! I have gleaned so much from my own parenting experiences and from others. I hope I can help others be prepared for what lies ahead. I wish someone would have prepared me…I spent a few weeks crying, when it could have been such a joyful transformation.