Momservation: I pray every day for God to keep you, my child, healthy, happy and safe. But ultimately, it’s in your hands.
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“They won’t understand until they have kids of their own.”
When you are waiting for your young adult children to quit causing you anxiety and heartache with their choices, this is just the shittiest consolation to hear. It’s like giving a man dying of thirst an empty glass and then telling him to wait for condensation to occur.
All of you with college-age kids right now are high-fiving me for nailing that analogy.
Actually, the better commiseration I got was from another mom of young adults—this ambiguous parenting stage where you ask yourself: How do I parent this shit? Is it my job to still try to steer them straight or is it time to simply sit back and point out they are being idiots?
It was my friend, Michelle, who gave me the answer when I vented that after all these years of putting excellence into parenting, was it too much to ask that I start getting excellence in return from my college kids?
“Too soon, Kel,” she said. “You are trying to cash that check too soon. You still got a few more years until you get a return on that investment.”
And there it was. She talked me off the ledge. I stepped back, thanked her for the outstretched hand and settled into the idea of my kids being mutual funds instead of high-yield stocks.
Seriously though, this summer has been a tough one. All my friends who sent their high school graduates off to college only to get a kid back home that first summer high on independence and overindulgence tried to warn me. It’s like trying to pen up a wild stallion who sees no reason why their corral should be kept clean or let you know if they will be home for dinner.
But I wish those were the only challenges we’re struggling with.
So again, I ask, how do you parent someone who can’t possibly understand how they are torturing you because they are a stock that hasn’t matured yet?
But I’m going to try, here, to put it into perspective. And maybe, just maybe, I won’t have to wait until they have kids of their own or decide to become a blue-chip stock.
Here’s the thing my young stallion and my little foal:
When you give birth to another human being and you look into the eyes of a miracle…suddenly feeling a love so selfless and powerful and pure…that it makes you easily willing to lay your life down to keep this person safe, happy and healthy…here’s what you DON’T hope for this amazing soul you’ve been blessed to call your son or daughter:
You don’t hope they make the worst decisions possible.
You don’t hope they gravitate toward danger and risk.
You don’t hope they cultivate an addiction.
You don’t hope they are reckless and impulsive.
You don’t hope they surround themselves with people eager to make bad choices.
You don’t hope they fail to educate themselves dooming them to a life of struggle.
You don’t hope they waste their gifts and talents.
You don’t hope they have no ambition and no drive to succeed.
You don’t hope they run away from problems.
You don’t hope they avoid responsibility and accountability.
You don’t hope they reject integrity and honor.
You don’t hope for them to fail.
You don’t hope for them to self-harm.
You don’t hope for them to not learn from their mistakes.
You don’t hope for them to make a decision that will haunt them for the rest of their lives—or cost them their life.
So to sit back, and watch you play fast and loose with so many of the things a parent doesn’t hope for a child, because you think you are over 18 and mature enough to call your own shots…you could not torture a parent more.
But you won’t understand that until you have kids of your own.
Or maybe, just maybe, you can stop for a second and try on some of the hopes and dreams we have for you and see if they fit.
Or better yet, imagine all the very best things in life you would hope for a child of your own one day. Try it. It’s like playing the What would you do with a billion dollars? speculation game. If you could have your child do anything, be anything, have anything their heart desires…who would you want them to be?
Would you want them to be you in this moment?
Please. Please, give this woman dying of thirst a cool glass of water.