When Parenting Gets Hard
There are times when as a parent the actual parenting gets hard.
Let me explain. Being a mother is one of the greatest blessings I have ever received BUT being the parent – the grown up and responsible one can be difficult at times. There are days when making the big decisions is something I wish I could just take a pass on – the days when I’d rather just be the support and the friend. Instead, I do the parenting even when it get’s hard.
It’s hard to hear your child, that piece of your heart, on the phone telling you how much they miss home and wish they could just pick up and come back. Nope. Not easy at all. Especially when the first thing you want to say is “pack your stuff I’ll be there in a couple hours“. Instead you have to parent – to be a parent – and tell him that he will be home soon and he can make it just a little bit longer. You have to stay his woes and reassure him that he is there for a reason and that he can handle it.
This is the part no one told me about. I heard about the pride and the joy in having your child achieve something as important as College yet no one told me about the missing, worrying and longing. No one mentioned how my heart would ache when he sounded lonely, said he hadn’t eaten all day or even had a class he just didn’t think he could handle. I must have missed that part of the College Mom handbook. I made it though prom, senior pictures, and college fairs but this part is a bit much. This part has those moments when I just want to throw in the grown up towel and tell my baby to come home where I can take care of him, where things are familiar and comfortable- for both of us.
To come home where I can make sure he eats 3 times (okay more like 6) a day, where I know where he is at night and where I can be there in an instant as a shoulder or an ear for him. That’s not okay though. I can’t do that. I’m Mom. I’m the adult. I have to stay rational, logical and clear headed. Right?
So instead of jumping in my truck to go get him I stay on the phone and talk him through that moment’s emotions and assure him they will pass and get easier. It’s homesickness but it will get better. He’ll be okay. He’ll be home soon. Time will fly. All those things a parent says in spite of what they may be feeling. The things I say not only to convince him but myself as well.
Then came that day when he walked in the door and said “hey Ma” that day had been longed for but it also had to be waited on. He was home. We could exhale. It had been rough on some days and a breeze on other but it was only in the waiting and the learning from the wait that he could realize that he could do it on his own. Shoot! That I could realize he could do it! Those days when I wanted to run and get him were the days I had to learn to trust and wait on the way I taught him knowing that he didn’t really need me as much as he thought he did – or even as much as I thought he did.
From that day and for nearly a month, we made memories and enjoyed the time at home but when it was time to go back we had our moments. The hesitation and the delay in wanting to leave the comfort of a place he knew. So again I did the Momma thing – that parenting thing. I told him he would be fine, that I was always here no matter what, only a phone call away but that he had to do this for himself. We marked the dates when he would be home next, gave out hugs and let him go…again.
I won’t say that part gets easier. The letting go. I never want to see him leave but each time he does I see a bit more confidence in his step. He’s growing from a young man into a man. That is what really matters.