Something happens when you are a young parent. Every baby seems a bit brighter than the last, more talented than the neighbors child and more calm than the kid at the day care. Oh, and those eyes! How adorable and did you know her poop smells sweet?
I remember one evening after work, sitting in my mother in law’s den after dinner talking about all the important lessons I wanted to teach my newborn. Music, (classical, of course) books (Chaucer, thank you) and museums (art!). I went on and on about what was available in our large city and how important it was for my baby to know all of them. She said (probably in an effort to get me to stop talking), “I’m sure you’ll give your baby a wonderful life and then, you’ll have to enjoy the magic of adulthood”. I didn’t understand.
Every child has challenges and rewards… even the golden and seemingly perfect require special attention that keeps a mom busy from daylight to dark.
Teens stretch the boundaries, practicing what we taught them as babies, to see if it will get them to adulthood at a quicker pace. Letting them (and encouraging them) to reach a little further with each experience may be a little tough, but necessary.
How else will they learn to properly react and to make those secondary decisions? Tethers like rules, curfews, dress codes, speed limits, allowances… all are about living better in the future. They are the seatbelt that keeps our children safe in the traffic of life.
Then the true magic happens. They live to adulthood. They graduate, make a few decisions, regret a few choices and reboot to survive nicely… without you. Making that adjustment is easier for some parents (and children) than others. It can be a sad time or a glorious freeing time.
Some however, must be stuck in the middle for a bit. Being stuck in the middle can be an obvious bother to the new adult and the parent… that’s where I was for a long time. Stuck in the middle. Between their childhood and their adulthood. Between guiding and nurturing and helping them move on! Eventually, they move and finding your place becomes a little more difficult.
Stuck in the middle is like being forced to live the life of a wall flower. With emotions swelling up when you (think you know) know the answer, they won’t listen and both are afraid to take that step out – for fear of offending someone or being outdated and just flat wrong, or being ridiculed for a belief. After spending years as the teacher, all of a sudden they can think for themselves and you wonder… “who told them they could do that”? It’s humorous when you think of it.
Just recently, I discovered the magic of adulthood means someone else can plan the menu for a get together, take a dare and live through it, purchase clothes for the grandkids and be the helping hands this world needs. These magical adults can have their own opinions, disagree with mine, change their spiritual direction and move away! They can move into a house, mop their own floor, fix their own car, shop for food and stay away for months, if they like. They’ve learned the magic of adulthood and are living it.
So what does this magic mean for me?
The magic of adulthood allows me to move forward, pretend they aren’t sneering at my suggestions or political views, and enjoy their children and their futures from the side. The magic of adulthood is not just for the children, it’s for all adults. Music, art, museums without the diaper bag, road trips, laundry for two instead of for five is a snap, and trying new dances or walking paths can be an adventure. Enjoying the passion of entrepreneurial fun for profit, practicing music again, sharing free time as a local volunteer may be rewarding for some.
It’s looking pretty bright out there.
So, here’s to the magic. Here’s to the babies, now grown and gone from my lap. Here’s to the freedom to have beer at breakfast or champagne with lunch. Here’s to time… to walk, to visit, to read and write. To play dominoes and cards, to create beautiful gardens and clean guest rooms. More music, art and museums, too!
The magic of adulthood awaits us, one and all and it’s definitely living better!