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Parenting Teens and the Things I will Miss

Sean has a little toy snake named Gerry. Or Gary. I am not quite clear on the spelling. All I know is that every once in a while, Gerry shows up in random places in our home.

It started not too long after we moved in. The TV had been mounted onto the wall, and I spotted something red out of the corner of my eye and I went to investigate. Lo and behold there was Gerry. He has since been on the fireplace, the thermostat, and now on my candle.

Kind of like an elf on the shelf.

That is my boy. Always finding a way to make his presence known and have a little bit of fun.

Those are things I will miss when my children leave our home.

Madi texted me last night to ask how I was doing and to show off her mask that he dad had worked on for her Halloween costume. She and he were so proud! As they should be. She asked me if I was doing anything fun and I told her that I was a little bit bored and not quite sure what to do with myself.

She then asked me, "What are you going to do when Sean and I graduate and leave home?"

I answered, "I have no idea."

I am not ready to even think about the empty nest life. The fact that my daughter is on the verge of turning 16 is several months has me a tad weepy. You know that saying, "The nights are long but the years are short?" I used to be so frustrated hearing that phrase while I was a sleep-deprived nursing mama. I couldn't even think of the years to come. I just desperately needed sleep and a warm shower all by myself and maybe a hot meal.

Now, those years are rapidly showing up and revealing themselves to me and my heart can't process quick enough. I don't know what I will do in the future. Madi and I talked a bit about traveling the world and visiting all the places we read about in our books.

But other than that, I don't really know.

I do know that I will miss Gerry appearing in random spots in the home we share together.

I will miss the early morning chats with Madi while getting ready for work and school.

I will miss shooting Nerf guns inside the house with Sean, and even yelling at him that we should be doing this outside but still shooting inside anyway.

I will miss Sean's rise and shine attitude in our home.

I will miss Madi's rise and hope for the best attitude. She is not our morning person. Ha!

I will miss hearing about the latest book Madi got to read and also watching murder mysteries with her.

I will miss the sounds of laughter and screams in our home.

There are so many more memories, moments, every day routines I will miss when they move up and beyond that I just don't have the space or the time to write out here. Plus, I like to keep a few things to myself.

Sure, when they get older, it will always be safe for them to return and connect with me. But my goal is not for them to stay home forever. I can't want them to be with me forever. I want them to become the individuals God intended and to go out, do big things and dream big dreams and have their own lives.

My job as a parent is to love them and help them develop wings so that they can confidently go forth on their own. No chains. No tether. No cage.

Give them wings.

With all that being said, I know I will miss some things. I don't know that I will ever be fully ready for the day when my children enter adulthood and venture out into the world without me.

Choosing to enjoy as much as we can right now with our children is absolutely a choice. Some days are easier than others. Some days, we may crave a moment of peace and solace. Sean, at 12 years old, still follows me around the house and talks to me while I am in the midst of cooking, cleaning, whatever. As annoying as that can be in the moment, I know I will miss it when he leaves.

We can embrace what is. What a gift it is to be able to be a parent to your kiddos! What a treasure it is to be able to witness them growing older and becoming their own person. To experience the change from overseeing everything and a lot of hand holding, to then experience the side by side relationship that you have the opportunity to foster and create if you decide to choose. I hope you choose.

Yes, I miss my chubby babies. When I look back on those old photographs I get a little teary eyed. However, I am just loving the season I am in now as a mom. It is different, but a really, really good different. Parenting teens is not something to be feared and teenagers are not little hormonal monsters. Refuse to allow those critics to make you believe so. Your teens are not monsters. They are unique, special, and wonderful individuals who are coming into their own and while they may not say it out loud, they want you to be a part of it, even if it requires a little bit of space from you.

But I sure am going to miss a few things.

Tiffany Rhea

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