I've really been enjoying reading a blog called "Grown and Flown" which is aimed at parents of kids 15-25.
It brings home to me the fact that, like everything else in life, parenting has phases.
My own two beauties are a sophomore in college and a senior in high school, respectively. One is settling in to his life as a young adult, managing everything from daily schedules to college social life to the supporting role of a part-time job. The other is in the throes of the application process, while juggling four AP classes, part-time work, and trying to enjoy the fleeting moments of her high school career.
As for me, I'm grappling with the phase I'm in, which I liken to "end of contract" in business. When I gave up my full-time career in finance the year my son was born twenty *cough* years ago next year, I knew that trying to manage my work life with babies wouldn't work for me. I have cherished (to the best of my ability!) every moment with my young family. I miss those days tremendously, even though at the time they didn't always seem so rapturous. Looking back, even from this fairly close vantage point, I can see the treasure that each moment was.
So now I'm trying to define what my life will be once my children are fully Grown and Flown.
All my volunteering, part-time work, vocations and even my beloved STEP Workshops won't be able to help me define my life after being a Stay at Home Mom. My job rearing my children is nearly done, my contract nearly up. Leaves kind of a big hole in your social schedule.
But I'm so proud that they are becoming the self-sufficient young adults that they are meant to be. This is what parenting is all about. Putting yourself out of a job. It wouldn't make it any easier to part with their childhoods if they were having trouble mastering adulthood; in fact it would just be a distraction. At least I can take comfort in their confident ability to navigate their challenges. Realizing that I'm not losing them, just moving into another phase.
This parenting thing has been full of surprises from the get-go. No reason this time should be any different.