We've just received the new book Fifty Shades of Grace of which my husband is one of the fifty contributing authors. I, of course, read my husband's chapter first, but am now starting to read the other stories, as well. I almost didn't get past the first couple of paragraphs of one particular chapter, "Parenting Scare" because of how it expressed how I'm feeling at the moment as a parent. The author, Jenn Esbenshade, tells a story regarding a moment of grace when dealing with a health scare involving her toddler. I, however, feel this way and my kids are young adults and a pre-teen.
"There's something about having children that creates a particular vulnerability in us. This little person is your heart, all that love and affection bubbling out to the surface. As parents we are left to watch this piece of our heart move about, unconnected to us, unable to shield it from all of life's dangers." (Pg 30)
Our children are at a very different stage of life than toddlerhood right now, but my heart is still deeply connected to my children. We have three young adult children and one middle schooler. We also have one "foster" son, who has lived with us off and on since his grade 12 year. Each of them is experiencing some not so easy life lessons right now. I want to shield them from all that and fix all of their problems. I hate to see them struggle. It's plain out painful to watch them experience hurts and disappointments. My husband and I really do think we know what's best for them, but they are at the stage where they need to figure it out for themselves. We also have to admit that sometimes they do know themselves better than we do! And yes, part of wanting to fix their problems is probably self-preservation. I have more grey hair than I like to admit, most of them accumulated during the learning to drive stages I've been through with 3 of them already. I have to give up control, which for me is a particularly painful and difficult process.
It's time to relinquish my mothering instincts for the older kids, ugh...I mean young adults. Thank goodness I still have a pre-teen in the house. I wonder if he can absorb all of my extra care I now have available?