Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
When my boys were little, I worried about them all the time.
And, I worried about me.
Did I teach them the Christian values I knew they needed to be successful, Godly men in a crazy mixed up world?
Would they forgive me my mistakes along the way and would they love me even if I didn’t let them go to every concert, every party and even if I did sometimes ground them from participating in youth group activities.
The teenage years were especially tough. I can remember asking my older son “Who are you and what have you done with my son?” because he was being so disrespectful and was so sure I was wrong about everything I told him. And, he, like Tracie’s teenagers also tried the “Everybody else gets to do it.” line.
My younger son presented different challenges as a teenager. I traveled for work, missed ballgames, made him feel neglected and his anger became an issue we all dealt with as a family with a Christian counselor. He also is the reason I went from corporate America to my lifelong dream of teaching. I taught at his school, we rode together each day and he hung out with me after while I graded papers and did lesson plans. I wouldn’t change those three years with him for anything.
Both of my sons, now in their mid and late twenties, are the heart of my heart. I am blessed to have them both living in the same city with me and see them regularly. They are both so much fun to hang out with as adults and I am grateful for the opportunity we have been given. They are strong, independent, committed, caring, loving men. I am proud of them each and every day and happy to call them my friends.
This opportunity also presents its own kind of challenges.
I commented to my husband the other night that I know way too much about my children’s lives. And sometimes I wonder if we are too close to them and if I try too hard to make everything okay for them, preventing them from learning valuable life lessons. They always know I’m a phone call away and that I would give them the shirt off my back if they needed it. In fact, the only real arguments my husband and I have stem from my inability to say no to them.
Don’t get me wrong, they are both self-sufficient adults who for the most part take care of themselves, pay their own bills, live their own lives, and have their own friends. But, when something out of the ordinary occurs and they need a safety net, we are there. Maybe that’s made things too easy. I don’t know. I just know that it would feel wrong to say no when I am able to help.
Our younger son is now married and his wife has become like one of our own children. She also happens to be my best friend (that happened before they started dating!) and so this complicates things as well. We have to remember sometimes when we are chatting that when she talks about her husband, that’s my baby. And when I talk about my husband, that’s her father-in-law. Makes for some interesting conversations!
This son also made me a grandmother for the first time in August of 2012. That type of parenting is a whole new adventure that we are just beginning to enjoy. I truly am the grandmother who spoils him rotten and then sends him home. I figure I’ve earned the privilege!
Parenting never ends. From the moment they are born until either we or they take our last breath, that relationship is one of the most important in our lives. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.