that has no idea what she is doing most of the time. I can honestly say that I was more prepared for the stress of being a new parent and a parent to toddlers than I am to be a parent of preteens or teenagers. I am confident enough in my parenting skills to admit that. It seems like there are so many books and blogs that give...
...advice on how to deal with those first few years. After that you are left to fend for yourself with this tiny army of people you have made.
I will be the first to admit that I am a bit petrified. Much to the surprise of my children, it really wasn’t that long ago that I was a teenager. But I have been living in this happy, simple world of little kids and fairies and princesses and rocks and mud. I haven’t thought about teenagery stuff in a quite a long time. Now that I am on the precipice of teenagerdom with my oldest, all of the stuff that I and mostly my brothers (you guys know I was the good one) did that made my mother’s hair turn gray is coming back to me.
Our children are 12 years old and 9 years old. We had found that light at the end of the tunnel. No more sleepless nights because of a teething baby. No more toddlers throwing themselves on the floor because they wanted the red cup but instead were given the blue one. We are done with meltdowns and tantrums. No more potty training and diapers. No more constant supervision.
They are pretty self-sufficient humans now. They can make simple meals, help with cleaning the house, take care of the animals and so much more. They can be trusted to go outside and play alone. It is a liberating time.
At this stage in a parent’s life you are able to go to a restaurant and not worry that your adorable 2-year-old is going to run around to all the tables in the place and try to sample all the french fries they can get their happy little fingers on. You don’t have to walk around the table with a whiney baby on your hip because the baby needs a nap and the baby will only not cry if the baby’s mommy is holding her and you get to watch everyone else eat while your food gets cold.
You can actually sit at the table, enjoy your hot meal and have actual meaningful conversations now.
No longer do you have to worry about your three-year-old running down the aisles of the grocery store and opening up every single two-liter bottle of pop as he giggles and squeals with delight as your husband chases him and the sticky sweet soda flows all over the grocery store’s floor. Nope, that stuff doesn’t happen anymore.
Instead I have sleepless nights because I worry. I worry that I haven’t prepared them enough for the pressures of being out in the world. I worry that I haven’t taught them how to say no to things that make them uncomfortable. I worry that they will be exposed to things too early in their innocent little lives by the friends that they have chosen. I worry that they will get into accidents and get hurt. Not just little booboos and scraped knees, I’m talking big accidents that cause irreversible brain damage or...I don’t even want to say it out loud. I worry. I worry. I worry.
My siblings and I are adults and I know my mother still worries about us. Our worries change and grow the older our babies get. Sometimes I want to just wrap my kids up in a happy, chubby, toddler bubble, but I can’t. We as parents have to let them go eventually and no matter how much we try to prepare them and give them the tools they need to be successful humans; it is still extraordinarily terrifying. I must remember that even though my children are a part of me, they are not mine. They have their own minds, their own hearts and their own wants and needs. They will want to go on their own adventures and do the things that make them happy. I am so excited for them and I cannot wait for them to experience and the good, wonderful and amazing things that are out there for them.
I still have a few years with them here at home with me and I am already a mess. I have no idea what I will do when they graduate and leave home.
Oh wait, yes I do.
I will worry.
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