These two call me mom, and it’s my favorite name. Jeter, our 80-pound yellow lab, well, he doesn’t listen when you call him, and he likes to sleep all day.
Being an empty nester and mothering adult children is so different than the toddler years that I remember so well. I vividly remember calling my husband at work when Jacob (our oldest) was a toddler. At that time, he was our only child, and I had spent the day tending to his every need. I was far beyond needing a break, so I did what any desperate mom would do. I called my husband at work and asked him to come home. I think the sniffling and shakey voice must have given him the impression that I was waving my white flag and was physically and emotionally exhausted. Those toddler years, wow, they did me in!
As I look back on those moments when I was waving my white flag, I think, potty training, teething, and reflux have nothing on the life decisions that we help coach our adult children through. Relationships, classes, and careers … we now have different battles and celebrations. Different roles and different opportunities. I have been the coach, the cheerleader, and the therapist. I have nursed their knees and their broken hearts. I have helped them navigate the failed relationship and the parking ticket. I have rescued them too many times to count and have encouraged them to remember their science book so that I didn’t have to rescue them anymore. Surprisingly (because these little people don’t come with manuals), they have grown into wonderful adults.
I have learned to embrace the grown children that we helped mold and teach along the way. The conversations look different now. They are generally focused around the decisions that they made on their own without really even consulting me for my opinion. At first, I was surprised, but now, I have grown to enjoy the role in not helping with the decision, but celebrating the victories along the way. They come to us when they need advice, even if they don’t always follow it, and we love sharing stories of the times we made poor choices that we didn’t always feel comfortable sharing when they were little. I don’t know every meal of their day or know every place they go. It’s a different journey. It’s beautiful, yet so unpredictable.
I can’t give you all the perfect tips on how to parent adult children the “right” way, because truthfully you know your children best. The “right” way is simply loving them the same way that you always have. These two are growing into amazing adults with huge, kind hearts, and I couldn’t be more thankful to be their mom.
It is such a wonderful ride (filled with exuberant amounts of prayer). Hang on moms of littles, these older years are ones for the books.