How does a parent prepare themselves to send their children out into the world? We spend their childhood trying to prepare them to make wise choices, to try new things, to persevere in the face of adversity. How do we prepare ourselves for the moment when they take that first step?
I can't wait to see what my children choose to do with their lives. I can't wait to meet their partners. I can't wait to see what they create as adults, whether that is art, a home, a business, or a child. I can't wait because I look forward to being part of it in some way.
But...that doesn't stop my wondering. How do I plan for my own adaptation to these changes?
My oldest is beginning to take tentative steps into the world now. Each year will bring more. In four short years, she may be ready to fledge. I won't spend those four years fretting over the inevitable. I hope that our evolving relationship will prepare us both for that moment, not as an end, but as a celebration...a bon voyage, so to speak.
Being a parent is hard on the ego and the heart. Things don't stay the same, nor should they. It isn't my role to parent them forever. Someday, it will be my role to support and enjoy their parenting, or their career, or their hobby, not to direct or facilitate it. I hope I can live up to my desires to make that a smooth transition. As a good, good friend once reminded me...one should go about life with grace and gusto. That is sound advice.
Grace and gusto in parenting. That sounds about right.