Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Be Careful What You Ask For

What is it about parenting? You work with your kids really hard on something. You expend blood, sweat, cash and perhaps some tears. They finally achieve that goal and what do you do? You worry. You cry. You sort of wish you could have them back the way they used to be.

My teenage daughter and her friends are all in various stages of preparing for or getting their driver’s licenses. When I’m not doing the white knuckle ride in the passenger seat of the vehicle formerly known as mine, I’m listening to my daughter dream about the day she gets her license.

For me, this is rather bittersweet. On the one hand, I’m anxious to be relieved of chauffeur duty. The last-minute schedule changes and the weekends that are hijacked by high school parties in subdivisions near and far are starting to drive me a little batty. I look forward the day when my husband and I can do what we want when we want.

But it’s not that easy.

I’m certain that the day that my daughter gets her license will be a joyful celebration. I’m also certain that on that same day, when she backs out of the driveway alone for the first time, my mind will be with her and not cavalierly booking theatre tickets or planning weekends at B&Bs.

That day will begin the days of endless worry. When sirens that pass by our house are no longer just aural annoyances but further reasons for concern until she walks back safely in the front door. I went through this once with our son and it’s not really fun. It just is what it is.

I felt the same way about our son going to college. Together we worked hard at the college selection process. Sure, he did the actual work, but we were right there with him, giving encouragement and saying a few extra prayers that he’d end up at the right school. And then when he did, I couldn’t help but feel sad that I couldn’t just tuck him in his bed and keep him safe at home.

It’s what we parents do. We raise them to leave us. The irony is that we never really leave them. Damn.


At 5:49 PM , Blogger Carmi said...

Powerful words, Karen. You touch on a theme - raising them so that they'll fly on their own - that's been core to my lfe as a parent, husband and writer ever since I can remember. But you put it far more eloquently than I ever could.

Good to e-see you again. You made my day when I saw your comment on my site. Life's been nutty, hence my relative absence from my favorite haunts. But it's a good-nutty, so I can't complain.

At 12:30 AM , Blogger kenju said...

You have reminded me of when we took our son to college, and on the way out of the dorm, I burst into tears. When mr. kenju asked what was wrong, I replied...."Nothing will ever be the same again." and it wasn't.

At 9:58 AM , Anonymous Long Day With Short People said...

I don't know whether to sob or rub my hands with glee at the thought of the Short People becoming grown-up and self-sufficient. Scary, yet also wonderful since I am still in the "wipe my bottom" phase of parenting.

Although, my 3 year old has informed me that "I will nevah growed up; I will always live wif' you, Mommy". Maybe self-sufficent will never come.

At 7:00 AM , Blogger kenju said...

Karen, thanks for the visit. Mr. kenju is making progress, slowly but surely. He walks with a cane now while in the house, but has to use the walker when he goes out. He is anxious to drive again, but it may be a while. Thanks for asking.

At 7:04 AM , Blogger November Rain said...

michelle sent me today

I know what you mean my son graduated from HS at 16

I was proud of him he is so smart (book smart) but I cried because it meant he was ready to go out in the real world and worried he might be a bit naive to the Real World

My daughter is now 17
she comes to see me in Europe and she has to fly alone and I am biting my nails this is her first trip here

At 6:44 PM , Blogger angela marie said...

I'm feeling these things with my oldest right now. 13 year old boy. I know, it's all just beginning. **sigh**

And what was with that snow day today?!? My husband works down in Milwaukee and he didn't think it was too bad...


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