Every stage of my life as a parent has been like an act in a play. Just as I’ve gotten it together and thought that I knew what I was doing and how to follow the script, it’s time to start over.
Lights, camera, action!
Set the stage. Again.
First up, baby stage. Thinking I would never again in my life get any sleep. When I wasn’t staring at and caring for my adorable babies, all I dreamed about was a nap. I remember asking for one for my birthday on a particularly exhausting year. 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep time was the greatest gift ever.
Then, the next stage hit. The one where I just wanted to be able to sit down. I called this the chaser stage. Kids running all the time. Please sit down. Please listen. Please get tired. Please go to bed. I love you, and you’re adorable but I can’t stand up any longer.
Then, before you blink your eyes they’re off to school. Independence stage. That stage was conflicting. I missed them, but I was also happy to have some time back to myself. Freedom that came with a side plate of guilt. The first experience of letting go.
The stages go on and on. Like acts in the play of life.
Fast forward to present life, teenager stage.
I have a 14 year old figuring out life in high school. I’m hugging her through each day as she tries to navigate the changes in her world and figures out where she fits in. Encouraging her to step out and be brave, to try new things. To find her voice and walk in confidence.
I have a 17 year old, who is finishing up his final year of high school and heading to university in the fall. This stage makes my heart both burst with pride and shatter into pieces all at the same time. Walking the fine line between wanting to hold on but preparing myself to let go. I’m giving lessons in laundry, safety on road trips, how to wash the countertops and rinse out the sink, saving money, etc. I have become really annoying but I am determined that this child will not leave my house unprepared for what is ahead!
I’m taking the moments I have and pouring everything into them because I know that the time I have left to influence is getting shorter. The greatest years of influence are behind me and not in front of me.
There is a shift on the stage.
It’s time for their breakout role.
Here’s the thing that helps me hold it together though all the change. Family never ends, I’m always going to be their mom. My influence changes, but my love never stops. Parenting is forever. Stages continue. While my husband and I have to start stepping back, I know we will always be a voice in our kids lives, even if that voice changes over time. Our investment will live on through their lives.
That’s why we need God’s wisdom at each stage. That’s why even in the hard times we press on, because it is just worth it. In every way.
I’m learning to love the stages, to embrace the new and to deposit whatever love, care and influence I can. I’m learning that what my kids need from me is always going to change. I’ve made the commitment to be the best parent that they need, at whatever stage they are in. Playing whatever role I need to in their lives.
Always helping set the stage.