I often joke that I am dead inside because I don’t cry-like ever. I’ve always been more practical than emotional. I’m an ENTJ for all you Myers Briggs geeks out there. Do I look back on facebook memories and think how cute my kids were, no doubt. However, I was never the mom crying at the bus stop because my baby was going off to Kindergarten.
As my girls started hitting more milestones, I celebrated each accomplishment, as if I were checking an imaginary box in my head, like “yes! another parenting win!” Whether it was potty training, riding the bus for the first time, going to middle school, starting high school, or learning to drive-I actually felt a sense of relief that I had gotten them one step closer to independence, relishing that my kids continue to display a sense of maturity and self-reliance.
I look around at many of my friends who are preparing to send their kids off to college this year or next, and they talk about wanting to stop time, and are sad-almost to the point of needing a Xanax or two.
I’m confused…Aren’t we supposed to raise great kids, so they grow up to be responsible young adults? Instead of being sad, why not pat yourself on the back for a job well done and look forward to seeing what the world has in store for your kid as they embark on the next chapter of their lives?
Next year, when Zoe prepares to leave for college, will I be sad (maybe a little), because I don’t just love her, I LIKE her. I will miss seeing her smile and feeling her calming presence in our home each day, but my gratitude outweighs my sadness. She is the best part of Josh and me, and has so much goodness to offer the world, that it would be selfish to want to keep that to myself.
I love my kids more than anything, and although I want to be a part of their life, I don’t need to be the center of it. They are not my possession, but rather a gift that I was given for a short time, to help nurture and grow.
When Zoe was only 6 months old, Josh said the following comment that continues to resonate with me:
“Make sure you always have your own identity. Don’t allow our kids to define who you are, because one day they will grow up and not need you the way they once did, and when that happens, you will end up feeling lost and resentful.”
I’d like to believe that someday my girls will look back, not saying that my mom did everything for me, or my mom always told me I was the best (because I didn’t), but rather, my parents were loving, honest, trusting, and empowering. These are the characteristics that I hope they carry with them into adulthood.