KRISTINA BEERS: Kids leaving is part of parenting

I am content the Christmas season is finally over and we are back in ordinary time. (Never mind the pink and red hearts festooning the stores; I’m simply pretending they don’t exist. Take that marketing gurus: I’m ignoring your pressure to buy stuff!)

We had a terrific family break. Our house stretched its walls happily with the fullness and music the boys bring along. My husband and I were fielding arguments, cooking, cleaning, fixing cars and playing (multiple) games with a raucous houseful. 

I love the ability to walk into any one room and find another soul to chat with, play games with or talk to. I love having to constantly say, “Shut the door, it’s cold outside!” or yell downstairs to “Turn the music down!!” 

I may act mad on the outside, but I secretly rejoice in all the little vignettes that make a family. I will also freely agree chaos allows great appreciation in solace found in listening to a ticking clock, the hum of a refrigerator and in the scent of freshly made cappuccino before the natives awaken. 

This holiday also brought the realization that we are the parent of adults. Our two oldest are 18 and 19 — you know, the ages where their wisdom is far superior to mine. We are luckier than many, I recognize, as the boys are respectful and loving, but I can’t help the sinking feeling that accompanies the knowledge they are more man than boy and my role must diminish at this point, most especially if he is to be seeking a mate. 

Boys have a difficult road to walk. In his identity, he has to separate himself from the person he loves best, his mom (at least I hope so!) to establish himself as a man, so he can return back to a woman in married love. Maybe I can’t exactly see this, but I surely can feel it in my motherly heart. 

And yet, that’s ok, because it speaks to the nature of things occurring for centuries. It doesn’t stop the severe melancholy that strikes the moment he says, “Well, mom, it’s time for me to leave.” Yet, I wake the next day and know all is as it should be. 

My suffering is minimal and temporary because I can rejoice in observation as he traverses his own path, slaying his dragons in life. 

Plus, I get to keep the remnants of their stay: phone chargers, books and a new appreciation for the awesomeness that is Twenty One Pilots. (That’s a music band) Not to mention the three others left at home for whom I can refine the mistakes I made in the first two (sorry guys).

Kristina Beers lives in the Remus area with her husband and five sons. She shares her thoughts on parenting teenagers and young adults.