December 20, 2016

You don't know me: Week 17

Here I am, reflecting on another week of pretend empty nest. Because at the particular moment of this writing, it's full. Plus one.

What I realize is the new normal, otherwise known as reality, is here to stay. From here on out, it will be coming and going, cars starting and stopping and parking. The door will revolve, and we will get glimpses of updates. At some point, we parents will no longer know who they hang out with or how often or what they do when they hang out.

That's normal and good.

I spent a day with my mom yesterday and I see the generational parallel. I told her about the lives of the people she knows are my life long best friends and realize, it's conversation fodder. It's how we touch base. My relationship with my children is approaching that place.
moving together forwardMy oldest child's beau is visiting us. They met last summer while she was interning and have kept in touch long distance. He seems really nice though I think I made him uneasy with my questions. At least he was polite and answered each one. I kept apologizing for being nosy. But the fact remains, we no longer will have that built-in framework of familiarity. We do not have any common ground other than the one person we know in common, my child, Period.

Admittedly, it is a bit disconcerting to realize that I no longer bond with our children and their friends over a common teacher, town event, or local story. Their worlds grow when we aren't looking. They grow beyond what I know or relate to and that is okay.

I don't know who all mom's friends are, nor does mom know all mine. The torch passes on. I don't know who all our kids' friends are, and likewise for them. Each story about someone else begins with some sort of explanation who this person we are talking about is and why they are in our lives.

When we start out as parents, our goal is to raise independent strong young people for the future. When it happens, it's a little unsettling, because it's hard to realize we achieved exactly what we set out to do. While it was the plan, it was going to happen regardless of any level of intervention on our part.

I think one of the difficult parts is that nobody throws us a shower or celebration. When we embark on this journey, we are literally showered with presents and cards of congratulation, and yet, upon retirement, it just fades. You want to holler, "Hey! All of you who loved that lump of wiggly baby in my arms? Yeah, you! I did it! We did it! That baby grew up and look-ee here! We got ourselves a co-ed!" Where is my party?

It doesn't work that way. Instead, we swirl away from the familiar world of over 18+ years raising young people.  We don't know where they are going and we somehow have to trust them, as well as ourselves. We have to trust that we did our best and so will they.

Stay tuned next week for my last installment. And stay tuned longer for my journey to book.


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