Whew! In the last three weeks, we drove our son back to Chicago for his sophomore year of college. Our oldest daughter moved to Florida for an internship at the “happiest place one Earth.” And, to top it off, our youngest daughter joined a group of friends at her first middle school dance!
Big events in the lives of children turn into big deals for parents. I get it. They’re our kids and we love them. We changed their diapers and taught them how to use a fork. I’m always going to be their unwavering cheerleader and their honest critic. I’m the one with the joyful smile saying thanks to God for allowing me to raise these wonderful souls. They know that I have their backs through the tough moments of life, picking up the pieces with them when things get messy. I’m their mom. That’s what I do and I take it pretty seriously, thank you.
But, you know what? Their triumphs are not my triumphs. Their failures are not my failures. They have their own stories to live. Lucky me-I have a front row seat to their journeys. Did you catch that? I said “their journeys.”
When I tell people about things happening in the lives of my kids, it seems like the comments and questions turn away from their journeys to mine. It’s not about me. Yes- I’m super proud of my kids. I’m one of those parents who gets teary just listening to my kid sing in the shower or reading a random text that ends with a string of heart emojis. Sometimes, it seems like people get it a little backwards. I’m their mom. I am not my kids and they are not me.
People wonder a lot of things when the topic turns to my children:
- How far is Chicago? I couldn’t imagine my son being that far away! (He’s only 9 hours away- not on the moon. )
- I would be so upset if my child moved all the way to Florida! (I’m actually impressed that she’s brave enough to see where her life will lead.)
- Why did you let them move so far away? (Why would I hold them back?)
- Won’t it be expensive to fly him home for breaks? (Probably, but so worth it!)
- Are you hoping your daughter stays in Florida so you have a fun place to visit? (It’s going to be fun to visit her anywhere she chooses to live.)
- Your kids are growing up. Doesn’t that make you feel old? (Really? THAT’s the only thing you’re wondering about?)
- How will you ever stay close to your kids with them spread out in different cities? (Closeness isn’t about proximity. Closeness is in our hearts.)
My kids are my world. Always and forever. They will have wild successes and colossal failures. They will have quiet moments of doubt mixed with feelings of strength. Through it all, I’ll be right there. I’m their guide, their touchstone, their North Star. Nope-it’s not about me. I’ve got the supporting role in these stories, not the director. The scripts are written. They get the lead roles.