My kids don’t really need me anymore. When they were young, they were so needy that it was exhausting. I couldn’t wait for their independence to arrive so that I could catch a break every now and then. My goal as a parent has always been to raise independent, healthy, happy kids. Well, job well done … and now I’m not so sure how I feel about it.
My daughter graduated from high school on Monday. She has always been independent — she was ready for college when she was in elementary school. She pursued high school with a dogged independence. I never knew what her assignments were or what hour she went to bed. Her method worked, as she graduated near the top of her class (as indicated by a medal that she was given to wear at graduation – which she said “showed everyone that she was an academic nerd”). She applied to college (and got in) without our assistance. If we tried to help, we were met with great annoyance and an “I got this.”
Luckily, my son still needs me a little bit. He just finished his freshman year in high school. The key here is that he doesn’t have his drivers license yet. He is very involved in sports and so he needs me to drive him to or pick him up from swim team, hockey, track, cross country. But the signs are there. He is starting to catch rides with friends who drive. Or he’ll bike to practice. Or walk home. Once he gets his license, I’m doomed!
Gone are the days of being a room mom. I no longer chaperone field trips. I don’t have to remind them to wear sunblock. They pack their own suitcases. They put away their own dishes. They do their own laundry. They make their own lunches. They are really good kids – and they are ready for the world.
I’m being phased out of my kids’ lives. In a way, this was always the goal. But why do I feel so sad about it?