My eldest turned sixteen this week and last night was the planned sleepover/ hang-out with all of his buddies. I started off the day doing what any normal mommy does for their beast’s birthday and decorated for his party. (A typical mom trying to hold on to her baby and keep him her ‘little boy’.) I thought it would be funny to put up some cutesy decor so he’d be surprised upon coming home from school to see the dinosaur-themed balloons, plates, napkins, streamers and pencil eraser party favors.
By day’s end, my quite-at-peace, goofy mommy phase transitioned. Such a bittersweet and surreal moment when you come home from work and find strange cars in your driveway, only to realize they belong to your beast’s friends. I know they’ve grown up. I’ve even seen some driving around town. But not until it was in my own home did it hit me that this is a totally new phase. The baby beasts are moving on, and I guess I should too. So my sentimental side pondered it and worked to cope with the reality that this is the beginning of the good-bye. Independence. Self-sufficiency. The apron strings are appearing quite severed.
Then came the major pole shift. The light bulb moment. The cool breeze across my mind awakening me to the reality that this isn’t a sad, bittersweet phase at all. This is a good phase. They have their own cars. They want their independence. They want to be self-sufficient. I can leave and go have dinner with my husband at my favorite Mexican dive because they just drove themselves to get their own food. I don’t have to cook for them. In fact, one of his friends even made and brought over a birthday cake! Another drove in the driveway to hand off a huge bag of carrots to my birthday beast. (I know that part sounds weird but the big beast loves carrots.) I just sat back and let it all happen.
And the best part was when I woke up this morning…. they had already gone to get their own donuts too! I am so off the hook. Well…. at least until my younger beast turns sixteen. 2 years and 8 months to go.
Parenting Tip: Whether you’re prone to let go or hang on – you don’t ever get to stop loving them. It’s just a natural part of us.
[Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.]