When I was a young mom, Al Gore hadn’t ‘invented the Internet’ yet, so I missed out on parenting advice via Facebook, blogs, and YouTube.
But we had books.
I loved the “What to expect” series, adding “What to expect when you’re expecting,” to my library as soon as the doctor confirmed it was real. I had the book memorized by the time I was no longer expecting.
We expanded our collection to include “… the first year; … the second year; … the toddler years,” and that’s where they stop.
I think we could have used another book in the series: What to Expect When You’re Launching.
“I’ll have tears as you take off, but I’ll cheer as you fly.”
That time period when your teen begins pulling away and preparing to “do it myself.” (Much like when they were two, but with bigger things at stake.)
It continues as they test their wings through high school and then actually fly the proverbial coop to college or whatever young adulthood holds.
It is during this time that you realize your level of control is inversely proportional to the enormity of the consequences.
Dr. James Dobson describes the ages 16-26 as the “critical decade.” (Life on the Edge)
There’s not much out there to prepare you for the wave of emotions and mental gymnastics you may find yourself experiencing.
“Find Your Wings” by Mark Harris is built on this tear-jerking line, “Let my love give you roots. And help you find your wings.”
Roots and wings.
What a paradox.
It’s illogical. Inconsistent. Incongruent.
And so it’s the perfect description of this time of life and the emotions that tag along.
“I’ll have tears as you take off, but I’ll cheer as you fly,” is one of the final lines of the song. Again. Perfect.
This season of launching is not easy, but it is worth every bit of prayer and patience and perseverance that you invest.
Here’s a snippet of what I would include if I wrote that book.
1. This is hard.
2. You will second-guess yourself and never feel like you had enough time
3. You may wonder if your sacrifices were worth it
4. You will think they don’t need you anymore
5. Your heart may break
In the middle of the heartbreak – however big or small – keep your perspective in check:
Your children do not define your worth.
Their successes do not elevate you to super-parent status and their failures do not sentence you to shame and reproach.
Your children do not define your worth. Oh, did I say that already? Good. It bears repeating.
But ...You can't call it yet
Regardless of where you are in the launch countdown, it’s important to remember that if you want a happy ending, it depends on where you stop the story.
Or, in the words of my wise husband: “You can’t call it yet.”
He and I have talked about this a lot lately.
It applies to the good times and the bad times.
... Read more.
This article was originally published on my blog, The Cheerio Trail, but is too long to copy over.
Read more: "What to Expect When You're Launching" on The Cheerio Trail.
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