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Letting go

The hardest part of parenting is letting go. Katy and I are entering into a new stage of life as empty nesters. In so many ways I have looked forward to this stage of life. I especially looked forward to this during the difficult times, when our young people were fighting so hard to be their own individual person, and testing boundaries at every turn. All in all, Katy and I have been very fortunate to have very good children. I believe that all children test boundaries and do what they can to be different.  

Our youngest daughter Kristina has been on her own now for 6 weeks. When Kristina moved out we realized how much noise that she had contributed to the household. It was not just Kristina but also all of her friends that would come over to visit. When she moved out all of that went with her. I especially do not miss being awakened at 3 am when she would come back from concerts.  

For the most part Katy and I are homebodies. We go to work, go to church and have an occasional date night. I think that one of the things that attracted our children’s friends is that there is no drama here. Katy and I cherish peace and quiet and we have a zero tolerance for things that would disturb that.

Now that we are entering into the empty nester stage of life we realize how much time and energy has been invested in our young adults. Our son Justin will be 18 very soon and he has been spending a lot of time on the weekends with his girlfriend and her family. He is savoring the moment that he can save up enough money to get a moped and move out on his own as well.

Katy and Kristina were doing their thing yesterday running errands so I came home and asked Justin if he was hungry. Asking a teenaged boy if he is hungry is really sort of rhetorical.   Teenagers are always hungry. I can always get Justin to hang out with me if food is involved.

After we ate lunch at Subway’s I asked Justin if he felt brave enough to do some driving. He looked at me and told me that you do not have to be brave to drive. In that instance I realized that I was the one that needed to be brave. I have to let go of the control of the vehicle and let him behind the wheel. It is all part of that letting go that I am not so good at. The trip to the DMV on Leeds Avenue was uneventful, and Justin spent some time practicing his three point turns and parallel parking. Once he was done with that he drove us over to Money Man Pawn on Savannah highway. Justin is really big into musical instruments and amplifiers. He is my rock star musician in the making.

I realize that for the most part our job as teachers and mentors will take on a different meaning in the life of our young adults. Hopefully by now we have instilled our beliefs and the difference between right and wrong. We have attempted to teach them good life skills and how to make good decisions. We have taught them to think about what they are about to do and what the consequences are going to be before they do it.

I also realize that our children will always be our children no matter how old they become. I know that they will make choices and decisions that I may not agree with. Despite that we will always love them and be here for them. I can only hope that they will know they are loved and will feel comfortable enough to come to us for advice or just have someone to listen to them. I did not have that in my parents and I have sorely missed it over the years.  

Katy and I will also have to make some adjustments now that we have more time to focus on one another. We find ourselves looking at one another and saying “now what?” Now we move on to the next stage of life and learn how to enjoy life together as a couple. I am looking forward to what the future holds and see how our young adults make lives of their own.

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