The seasons of parenting are gone like the summer. A sense of peace hovers in my memories of those decades. My husband, Scott, and I get a little teary-eyed when we talk about the days of raising our three children. Now that they’re adults, nostalgia for their childhoods sometimes seeps into our hearts. They all live near enough to keep us close but, after the long haul, parenting sometimes feels like a rip-off:
The kids take your planned obsolescence and run with it—showing off how strong and solid they can be without you.
You finally get older and wiser but you’ve already passed on some bad habits and ideas from your younger, dumber days.
Those grown-ups that used to be kids have become great thinkers and conversationalists. But now you have to schedule those precious chats.
The family dog becomes the spoiled kid, getting more treats and leeway than her 2-legged siblings did.
Hope for our kids’ future sweeps in like a fresh breeze. Scott and I smile when we talk about the beauty our three are adding to the world. Like Julian’s love for his wife and son and the music they make together. Like Carina’s love for her husband and daughter and her courage in the roughest of places. Like Chloe’s love for her family and friends and her passion for bettering the world.
Parenting delivers a lot of pay-offs:
You can rest your case and let them take up and examine the stuff you tried to teach them.
You get to let their significant others care for them and carry some of your worry.
You can recognize and receive the wisdom your adult kids have to offer.
You can enjoy the turkey because all they expect from you is the gravy.
Scott wrote the song, “Travel Well,” for our most recent Out of the Grey project, A Little Light Left.
He spent a lot of time honing in on what he wanted to say, playing those guitar chords over and over until he landed on the language he was seeking, the perfect way to send our kids off.
But parenting is never perfect. We can fill our kids’ suitcases with light or heavy loads. Or a little of both.
We never wanted to weigh our kids down with excess baggage but we certainly did. We talked a lot about discernment and thinking critically about our culture, but a little less analysis may have led to lighter hearts. Also, in our attempts to keep them safe in the chaotic world of touring and travel, we added worry and anxiety too often to the mix.
The good news is we’re still on the journey with our kids as adults. Although arrivals are few, it’s never too late to be a better parent. Send-off’s are important whenever someone heads out:
You can seek forgiveness for unnecessary burdens you bestowed.
You can call to connect and keep the conversation going.
You can keep your ears and hearts–like the door–always open.
You can be honest and say, “I don’t always understand your Instagram but I’ll keep following you anyway.”
We talk with our three on the phone regularly. The home they grew up in is still their place to land from time to time.
Yes, the seasons of raising kids end. But the blessings don’t have to. As parents, we can always be improving the lives of our adult kids and their kids after them as we wish them peace, hope, and love. Because, at the end of the day: