No offense to any new moms out there, but you have it easy! Those first few years of parenthood are both wonderful and exhausting. Sleepless nights, changing diapers, choosing a preschool, putting them on the bus, teaching them to make friends, watching them make the wrong friends, helping with homework, cheering on the sidelines, cleaning scraped knees and wiping snotty noses and tear-stained faces are just some of the painful joys of parenthood. But I have to be honest with you, looking back, it was actually quite easy to raise children. It’s once they hit high school that everything changes because that’s when you realize that you are no longer raising children; you are raising adults.
I liked raising children so much better than raising adults. I have such a hard time letting go. It just seems so much easier for me to fill out forms, contact teachers, cry to (and about) coaches, and make the tough decisions for them. I want so badly for them to advocate for themselves, but I can’t help myself! I am always fighting the urge to step in, and I often lose the battle. If you think that watching your child fall off a bike is hard, try watching them fall in love, fall into the wrong crowd, or fall on their faces literally and figuratively. Being able to pick them up, cradle them in your lap, and kiss the hurt away is infinitely easier than mending a broken heart or being on the other side of the slammed door. Being a guide and mentor would be easy if I didn’t want so much to be at the reins, controlling everything that happens in their lives. As if I could have stopped that bike from falling…
Raising adults is a lot like raising puppies. You discipline as best you can, hoping they understand that it’s out of love, you scold and yell to stop them from doing something harmful, you keep them on a short leash for as long as you can; but then you realize that there comes a day when you have to trust them, leave them alone, let them wander, and pray that when you or they return, nothing has been damaged beyond repair. There will be accidents and incidents, and no matter how old they are, they will try your patience and make you so angry you see red, but deep down, you know that all they really want from you is your love and attention.
I still have a lot of learning and letting go to do. It’s not an easy road, and there are many bends, dead ends, yields, and U-turns, but I know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. My mother and I don’t always agree, and we had our share of arguments when I was becoming an adult, but there’s nobody in the world whom I love, respect, and enjoy spending time with more than her. I can only hope and pray that I can be as lucky with my three girls. Correction, my three young adults. Loving them while letting them go is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I know that someday we will all reap the rewards.
Amy Schisler is the author of two mystery / suspense novels. Her first book, A Place to Call Home is in its second printing and may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks. Amy’s newest mystery, Picture Me, was released in August of 2015 and is available in stores and online. Her children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad, may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.