A continuum


It has been a few weeks since I last sat down to write what goes around in this brain of mine! Since that time we have had the opportunity to watch our youngest son graduate from college, our youngest daughter be offered a new job in a different state and our oldest daughter make the giant leap of cohabitation! Now.... that is a lot!

I have also had a bit of feedback from those of you that look to accommodate me and read this blog every once in a while. Thanks for all the comments. I truly appreciate it! Life is an interesting process that we all participate in!

In thinking about all that has happened in the last few weeks, I have to say ..YEAH!!!!! Yeah to all my kids, yeah to all that we celebrated and yeah to each of them for figuring out what works for them and taking the steps to get there. I have to say that it is a weird, yet also wonderful feeling having our last child graduate from college. I have to admit that I have spent a bit of time looking in the mirror and saying "What?? Is that me??" The cliche works here, it seems that your kids grow and evolve and you don't seem to notice the time that has passed. Gary Meir (not sure about the spelling) on WGN says that once you reach 50 it seems that you are having breakfast every 15 minutes. I think he's onto something!

It is the ultimate pleasure of parenting and being a parent to watch your kids find their way. It is also gut wrenching at times as they go through the struggles that each one of them has to figure out. I ran into a woman that I have not had the pleasure of seeing for a while, and we were catching up on where each of our kids are. Her youngest son is the age of our oldest daughter. She was sharing with me the thought that she wished her mom would have "manned up" and told her the secret that parenting does not get easier after 18. You are not done being a parent once you have sent your kids off to college or into the world to pursue a career...you are just truly starting with the really hard stuff! Once your kids are grown and able to care for themselves, the big problems or if you are a positive thinker at heart, "opportunities" start! Your children now have to be grownups on their own and solve and decide what works in their lives, and what doesn't. The kicker here is that you can not put a bandaide on and make it all better...they have to figure it all out themselves. Now, that does not mean that you are not a player in these scenarios... the difference is that you do not get to fix whatever "ails" them. You have to be a good coach. Know when to talk, know when to listen and just know when to shut up! I have to admit that for me, the part about shutting up is the hardest. I hope that I will be able to continue to evolve and ask the question.."Do you want my opinion?" However, no matter what the answer to that question is, they still are the drivers , you are just a bystander, of course a very interested bystander, but still a bystander.

Each one of our children needs something different from us as they become adults. Some personalities want more involvement, some want less and some will probably be a hybrid of the two. I think the key to continuing to be an effective and helpful person in your child's life, no matter how old they are, is to be able to discern what is the best role for you to play and how to best help them. I talked recently with a psychologist that I respect about how to evolve as children grow. She used the term "transformative parenting". Her definition of that meant that as children grow our job is to transform from hands on to hands off. Become a good advisor, even when it is killing you....don't think your job is to solve the problem your child is facing. Your job is to provide advice, if asked for and be there. That is it! Our job as kids grow each year is to be less hands on and more hands off....be the good coach.

So, as I look to where each of our children are now, I have to say that being the part of the "good coach" is what I am continuing to strive for. And, as each of them meets the challenges and "opportunities" that life presents I am thrilled to be right there on the sideline cheering them on and even occasionally yelling "WAY TO GO!!!!!!""

I do have to admit that that is the good stuff. Being right there to celebrate our son's graduation from college, our daughter's job offer, and our daughter's choice to take the next step with a good man she loves...so here goes.....

"WAY TO GO GUYS"!!!!!!!

Until next time,