Two days ago, our daughter Emily showed me a marketing proposal she designed for a potential client and I was amazed to find that it is more professional than anything I could have designed. Yesterday morning, I was listening to a CD of our son Sam’s music and was overwhelmed by the intricacy of the composition. Last evening, we went to our son Ben’s school for "Parent Night" and listened to his math teacher speak a language I do not understand.
It struck me last night: our children have surpassed me. When did this happen? How did this happen? It seems like just yesterday I was teaching Emily how to hold a pencil correctly. I was singing Sam little nursery rhymes to help him get to sleep. I was teaching Ben to count to 10. Now, they are all succeeding at lessons and tasks and techniques that are beyond my abilities and even beyond my comprehension.
After a moment of feeling a bit confused and panicky, I took a deep breath. This, after all, is what parenting is about. This is the goal. We have nurtured our children, helped them explore, encouraged their interests. Now, they are beginning to test their wings, take off and fly. Watching this process is frightening and exhilarating.
Sometimes it feels like we are walking on a tightrope. Our children are at various stages in that space between childhood and adulthood. I’m sure they consider themselves adults. And yet they are not completely independent. They turn to us for advice, for security, for emotional support and for nourishment.
As a family, we are all trying to find our way into a new world, into this land of being almost all adults. We have learned one thing. Just like at every stage of family life, when we respect each other and listen to each other and love each other, we all thrive.