Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thoughts on This Season

I'm learning so much lately about how to be a good parent to my teenage son.  And we are mere months away from sending him off to...Baltimore?  New York?  Seattle?  Eugene?  Tempe?  Wherever we send him, it will not be here.  That's so the way it goes with raising kids.  Just when you think you are getting a handle on a season, the season changes.  

I've always been one to soak up knowledge about parenting...I've sought out the parents of kids I like and asked them lots of questions.  I've surrounded myself with women who are both in my same season and who are a few steps ahead of me.  I watch, I listen, I observe actions way more than I listen to words.  And I've picked up such valuable wisdom along the way.  Why reinvent the wheel, right?  If I see someone getting results that I like, I figure out what they are doing that I could do.  Some of the most valuable lessons have been observing results I don't want, and figuring out how not to emulate that.

I've also prayed a lot, listened to the One who has all the wisdom.  Keeping the Biblical perspective of why I'm doing what I'm doing and what I want in the end has been so integral in sorting out the advice, the instincts, the questions.

The instincts?  Sometimes accurate, sometimes not.  It can be dangerous to let your feelings steer your actions.  That is sure true in parenting.  The gut feeling that is the nudge of The Lord?  Always accurate.  Having discernment for which you are feeling?  A journey.

So here I am, entering the end of one season of parenting and preparing for another.  Some days I could easily weep at the thought of sending him off to the East Coast.  Last night?  I would have driven him to the airport, hugged him tightly, and wished him well navigating his life while he knows it all.  If you've been there, you know.

I know the reality is I will miss him like crazy.  He is a joy in our home (most days).  His energy is both energizing and exhausting to me.  I'll cry buckets of tears when he leaves.  I'll wonder if I did enough.  I'll wonder if I prepared him for all the things I'm responsible for preparing him for.  I'll wonder if I got enough right amongst all the things I got wrong.

The deadlines and due dates and commitments are overwhelming right now.  I'm stressed for him.  I'm helping in the ways I can, but so much of this is on him.  We are past the point of micro-managing.  I have had to bite my tongue (or put chocolate in my mouth) to keep from managing his schedule and making "suggestions" that aren't welcome.  This is a great time to learn to manage his own stuff, in a safe place.  And yet there are so many crucial things that are big deals and can't be overlooked.  So I keep an eye peeled.  I breathe deeply.  I cry.  I pray.  I encourage.  I blow it and vent my frustration.  Then I cry again.  And pray again.  And breathe deeply again.

I've been warned that parenting a senior is not for wimps.  How true that is.  Money here, money there.  Essays here, essays there.   Applications here, applications there.  Auditions here, auditions there.  Ugh.  It's overwhelming.  Cap and gown ordered, tears shed.

And here's what I know for sure:

1.  Teenagers are exhausting.  I remember being exhausted with my little ones, feeling like that 8:00 bedtime was barely reachable.  Not to undermine that kind of tired, this is just a different tired.

2.  Teenagers like to talk late at night.  Their engines rev up right when mine goes into neutral.  It's so hard for me to be engaged late at night, but good connections have been made then.

3.  Teenagers like to be talked to logical and respectfully.  It's good to explain to them that their brains are just not fully developed yet.  They are wired to be more emotional and it's not their fault that the frontal lobe is just not on full throttle.

4.  Teenagers need affecton.  They need assurances.  They need encouragement.  They need forgiveness.

Now I'm typing blindly, becasue my iPad screen will no longer how me the end of the screen.  I'm sure there's a way to fix that, but I'm not too handy with gadgets.  So it's a good place to end....


  1. thank you for always running this race with our kids together. You have always given me sound advice and heard me well in this department of our little worlds. Thank you! I love this post.

  2. Leanne, love you. You had me weepy and laughing in this post. I wish I could tell you when they are all raised it is easier. You will always be taking your kids to the LORD and He will always remind you He loves them and has a story for them to tell too.
    Love you,