As the days wane on having kids around the house, I seem to get more and more wistful about them flying the nest. I'm a sentimental sap, so not only do I dwell on what used to be, but I also worry about whether we've properly equipped and prepared them for life beyond our doors.
I worry that we've over protected them at the same time I worry that we haven't protected them enough.
There is nothing any parent wants more than a child who is successful, socially adept and, most of all, happy. And when I think of my own life, I think I've hit all of those. Well, I'm still working on the socially adept part, but hey. At the same time, I cannot live their lives for them. There is a time and a place to set them free and see what happens. That is when you hope that the values you instilled kick in and while you encourage them to be their own person, you hope that they make good choices and decisions along the way.
I continue to be surprised by their successes and accomplishments - all of it done with little fanfare. (I seem to be the one with the boasting problem, not them. LOL). My daughter makes the dean's list every semester, and I am the one who has to look it up. She never tells me. Ben continues to get good grades despite (his past) swimming and now working at his new job.
It's almost like they expect more from themselves than I do.
And while I was never as good a student as either of them, my mom instilled enough of the core values that matter to allow me to succeed as well. She's 83 now and I think she still worries about each of us in different ways. I guess that just never stops.
So, as she's 300 miles away for the summer working the landings in northern Wisconsin for the Clean Boats/Clean Water program, I am getting reports that she's having a great time and some fun new experiences. This makes me so happy in a living-vicariously-through-her sort of way. These are the college experiences she will always remember.
At the same time, Ben grinds out the last days of his senior year in high school, and he cannot wait to graduate and get to this next phase of his life. Having been in the shoes of a kid with senior-itis, I remember this feeling well, and know he will do well at UW Madison next fall. I still say my college years were some of the best years of my life and I'm sure he'll follow suit.
And when it's all said and done, I need to spend more time being grateful and less time worrying. Because I think we're all going to be fine.