Our local talk radio station used to carry the Dr. Laura show when my children were little. I listened often, trying to learn from others how not to screw up my relationships and my children. Being a stay-at-home mother of five small children was the most difficult thing I've done in my life so far, but Dr. Laura and her callers reassured me daily that mothering well was the most important thing I could be doing for those five little ones. To that end, Kent and also I took parenting classes every year or two, and tried to remember that we are not raising children--we are raising adults.
The first of our brood is now 18, and as Dr. Laura would say, it is time to give her her pink slip on life. We will help her move into her off-campus apartment this weekend. I am excited for her, and I'm curious how having one less at the dinner table will change the dynamic for those of us still at home. I think these are good changes.
I also wonder if we've taught her everything we were supposed to. She can support herself, but does she know how to balance her checking account? She is physically healthy, but I never got around to teaching her natural fertility regulation. She can boil ramen, but will she feed her body the nutrition it really needs? She has enrolled in 17 credits at school, which look manageable on paper, but does she have the time management skills to balance that workload with her job, social life, and sleep?
She feeds her spirit, but does she know God well enough to trust that He is still watching over her during the difficult times when He will step back and let her struggle?
Obviously, we have not run out of time to teach her. But I expect that this new phase of relating to my adult daughter will now be a two-way street. We will do a lot more listening and learning from her. We will observe and love and hold our advice until she asks for it. She will continue to make mistakes, and she will continue to learn from her mistakes, just like the rest of us.
Could we have parented and prepared her better? Certainly. But I look at this smart, fun, kind, talented, loving, faithful young woman, and I am blown away by the person she already is. I know she has the capacity to keep learning and growing and becoming as she forges her own adult path. Kassidy, we love you and can't wait to see what you do with the rest of your life. It is yours to live!