FOR 15 YEARS, I’ve been parenting teens.
Today that ends as my youngest, my son, turns 20.
Tomorrow his sister, my eldest, turns 28.
Like most parents, I wonder where the years have gone, how, snap, just like that, I’ve become an empty nester with three adult children. My other daughter is 21 months younger than her older sister.
At times, if I’m honest, I wished time would move faster, that the tantrums of a two-year-old, the sometime moodiness of a teen, would vanish.
I look back now and understand that this is all part of growing and of the parenting process. None of us—parents nor child—are perfect. But we stick together. We love and live and forgive and embrace and move forward.
The son lives in Boston now, where he is studying for a computer science degree at Tufts University. I’m proud of the independent young man he’s become, focused on his future, working hard to get the most he can from his education.
He’s always been a self-starter when it comes to learning. He didn’t wait for teachers to teach him. As a grader schooler, my boy would check out books from the library to learn what he wasn’t learning in class. Later, when he got a laptop, he would also research online. Up until he entered college, he basically had taught himself everything he knows about computers and programming. At age 18, he formed his own company, Apocrypha, LLC.
Watching him grow has been interesting. He started life weighing 10 pounds, 12 ounces, by far the biggest baby in the hospital nursery. By 10 months, my boy was walking. He was into everything. Everything. Today he towers well over six feet and, I think, is still stretching. Or so it seems whenever he returns back to Minnesota, which isn’t often enough for me.
That’s the thing about parenting. When your baby is born, you have no idea that the sleepless nights, the two-year-old tantrums, the turbulent teens will not be the most difficult part of parenting. It is the letting go that proves especially challenging, the realization that this child you’ve loved and cherished and held close will leave you. I just didn’t expect my son to journey 1,300 miles away.
But it is at it’s supposed to be.
At times, I feel like I could have done better as a parent. Don’t we all.
Yet, there comes a realization and acceptance that you’ve done the best you can and you must let go. Not that you ever stop caring or loving or supporting or praying for or worrying about…
Today the days of parenting teens are behind me. And I’m good with that.
© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling