Monday, March 20, 2006

Kids are Always Kids

I've come to the conclusion that regardless of their are always kids. Even as adults they're still kids. Of course, my own mother probably says that of me, but we all know "that's different."
My own children are all grown and still, through my eyes, I see the tiny tots they
once were. It didn't bother me to hit the middle aged 40's-- why it didn't even bother me when the kids graduated high school. What bothered me was the day my youngest, the baby, the least one, stood next to me and put his elbow on the top of my head. At 6'6 1/2, he now towers over me like a giant.
Still the inate desire to protect them is embedded deep within us. Regardless of their ages. I still can't bear the thoughts of one of the boys making a mistake similar to one I'd made as a youth. Especially knowing how it ended for me. So, I find myself trying to stay a step ahead. I pray for wisdom and open mindedness, but somehow I still mess up.
It's never an intentional thing -- messing up, that is. I have the best of intentions...but it's hard to let your adult children step into something you know holds nothing but heartache. When my first marriage ended I sat on the steps of a porch in Illinois. It was May and the snow was still up to my hips. I huddled with my 3 and 4 year old boys. Right there on the steps, I came face to face with the reality that it would be "me and the boys" from here on out. I can remember promising them I would never turn my back on them, that I'd always be there for them and I would never let them down. I trusted God would pull us through and He has. Still, over the years, I've goofed up.
I'm really not sure there is any rest in becoming a parent. We know there's not when they're babies. They're up every 3 hours, screaming for food and pooping. The they hit elementary school and you still don't rest. Primarily because they choose to share YOUR bed in the middle of the night and they can never lay still or straight in the bed. The good Lord knows I've suffered my share of bloody noses or lips where they manage to kick me in the fact as they flip yanny-wampling in the bed. They get to high school and there's really no rest. Thank goodness my boys were active in school activities that kept them safe and busy (i.e. the BAND). But there was the constant worry of would the obey us, would they come home when we told them to....would they drive safely. And of course....there's not a bit of rest in that.
College hits and if they've never been rebellious, suddenly they become late bloomers in that department. They search to define themselves, see with immature adult eyes (which is sometimes worse than the elementary school knock-outs). They start to make personal decisions and they begin to truly pay the consequence of whatever they choose to do. This is worse than the infant years. They still eat every 3 hours and they certainly never sleep.
The thing is...they're still my boys and I love them with all my heart. There in lies the problem. My heart gets smashed alot. Partically because they're boys, young adults...(sorry guys of the world...but clueless men when it comes to the sensitativty of females and their emotions. And oh....I still make mistakes.
It seems I make one after the other - -but they're out of love. You see, to my parents, I'm still a child that causes them a lack of sleep, just as my adult children do the same. The only thing is...they don't get it yet. They'll probably be in their 40's before it sinks in. Then they'll lean back in their chair and rub their forehead. The words, "Ohhhhh, now I see" will slip from their lips and maybe -- Just maybe at this point in their lives, I can get a little rest.
I'm blessed with wonderful children. And like any parent, I don't always agree with their decisions but they are adults. So, I pray...fervently, daily, relentlessly for them. My intentions are only meant to be good.
We sort of give up the rest privlege when we have babies. Was it worth it? Of course it is. So, tonight...I lay down knowing that I've raised them to the best of my ability, that I love them deeply and I really do trust them. I may sleep -- but I never really rest.