So now there are 5 teenagers in my house. SIX if you count the boyfriend of the oldest daughter who is here more often than not. My son’s best BROpal is visiting from TN and staying with us in the room over the garage. That room once belonged to college boy, then youngest took it over. Now college boy sleeps on the couch in that room and BROpal is on a mattress on the floor. You don’t even want to know what 15 + 15 + 19 smells like.
Parenting teens is a challenge, to say the least, but successfully and gracefully parenting “adults” that still live at home is entirely another category of giftedness that I have yet to stumble upon. One minute they are scattered to the wind eating who knows what at who knows when. We do make it a practice to know WHERE they are so that is somewhat consoling. The next minute they are all ALL underfoot, boisterous with friends over and it’s after 10pm. On a weeknight. And they are hungry. Or thirsty. Or bored. It is just a new and perilous realm to be transitioning from Cruise Director to Spectator in their lives. We find ourselves letting go of many of our daily parental duties and decisions, but still holding responsibility for their well-being and safety, no matter how hard they try to thwart us.
In Whitney’s graduation “crowning” ceremony her dad and I made the following statement:
The choices we have made for you as you grew up we now release to you. The choices you make from this point forward will continue to create the person you choose to become. You can always count on us to love you unconditionally, no matter what choices you make. We are proud of you.
Granted, choices like not making that appointment, or not putting clothes in the dryer, or rolling the windows up on your car when rain is predicted are going to get a nudge towards completion, but they are their choices. The resulting consequences are also theirs to own and cherish.
I am realizing that it takes an intentionality to enjoy parenting at every stage. Even this “last” official one where they believe they are full-fledged adults, but the rest of us know better. It is all at once motivating to get them out of the nest and nostalgic as we look back and realize our family is changing at a rapid pace. In the grand scheme, family doesn’t shrink, it grows. I am excited to have made it this far in motherhood and I look towards the future with excitement and anticipation as I continue to dream about my grown children and how they will improve their world.
Now go pick up those socks.