Have you ever gone back home as an adult, walked through the doors and slid back into the role, or position, you had as a child? Do you suddenly become the baby, middle or eldest? The favorite, the prince, the ornery one, the trouble maker, the responsible one, or the peace maker? I have been thinking about this a fair amount as I anticipated Courtney returning for the summer after her first year away at college.
One of the joys of parenting these kids is seeing who they are becoming. I believe the basics of personality and character are in place, but there is so much more of them yet to unfold. As I wrote here, it has been a year of change for each of our kids. I took a little time to talk to the baby and the middle one the day we drove to retrieve the eldest. :) I brought to their attention that they had each changed and grew in this past year and that I hoped that they would walk in that change even as things went back to feeling “normal” with the return of their sister.
We send our kids off to the next phase (college or independent living) with hope and expectation of growth and change. So I believe its important to not put them back into their same places when they come back home; they won’t really fit there anymore anyway, and this is a good thing. I want my kids to leave home and then be comfortable coming back bigger, broader, and wiser. But I’m not sure this comes naturally to us parents, for me it has been an intentional thought process.
I heard a mom say today that she was disappointed when her family didn’t do an Easter egg hunt this year. (her kids are in college and high school) She said that no matter how old her kids get, she wants them to hunt for eggs. This sounds to me as if she is trying to preserve what has been…for her sake. But I think when we do that we prevent what is…for all of our sakes.
I get that I am new at this stage of parenting. I know that I don’t even know what I don’t know. I believe there are seasoned parents reading this who have experiences of which I am completely unaware and may be shaking their heads at how naive I am.
I just know that if I expect my kids to quit changing because it makes me sad then I will miss out – and they may end up pretending to be someone they are not…just to seem like they fit. That is exactly the opposite of what we taught them – please don’t be someone you’re not just to fit in.
So, welcome home Courtney, stand tall Zach, Erin and Kyler. You are each becoming really great young adults and there is room enough in this mother’s heart and mind to accommodate all that you are and all that you will become.