Parenting Is Not For Control Freaks

 

“Those were the days, my friend, I thought they’d never end…”

I looked forward to when my children were a little bit older, and parenting would be a little bit easier.

When I wouldn’t spend my days agonizing over the “now realized” tiny decisions in their simple lives. When I could trust them to make good choices. And I resolved to trust God when they didn’t.

10672182_10205189090751973_1802962243510697275_nI remember 12 year old Mallory being at a friends’ house sleeping over. She called me to ask if she was allowed to watch a certain movie the other girls wanted to see. I hesitated and thought to myself, “this parenting is tough. I don’t want to tell her no and deny the other girls from having fun. Yet, I’m not sure I approve of this movie.” She sensed the hesitation in my lack of response, and after a minute she assured me, “Mom, it’s okay if you want to say no. It’s really okay.”

Definitely not my “Mother of the Year” best, but I think of that phone call often as making decisions has become more challenging.

Back in the day when I drove my children to visit friends, one such afternoon’s series of events goes down in our family journal as quite memorable.

Lydia was in 10th grade and had made plans to visit her friend, Carson, who lived about 30 minutes away. I had never met Carson, but I had an errand up close to her house so I told Lydia I’d take her. We drove north on Bridgewater St, through the approximate 26 stoplights (no kidding), until we entered the town of University Place. I can still vividly remember turning onto the street and just before arriving at the house, we talked about how long she planned to stay and when I would return to get her. Somewhere in the few minutes of that conversation, she let a few details be known that totally threw me for a loop. First, I had NO idea that Carson was a BOY!!  AND had a girlfriend. “But Mom, we’re just friends and were going to hang out for a while.” Are you kidding me? Over my dead body you’re going to a BOY’s house and hang out for a while! I turned that car around and immediately headed to the mall, where, for some reason, Lydia’s older brother was that afternoon. That was the extent of her hanging out with a BOY on that particular afternoon!

Ah, the control freak in me squealed with delight at being able to determine her actions that afternoon.

We all still laugh when we think of “Lydia going to Carson’s house”.

My children are all now adults and though most days we love this stage of life with our young adult children, there are days I wish we could go back to “those days”.

Today they are making life and “til death do us part” decisions. And I am realizing that I really have no control.

We are in the transition stage of parenting.

Gone are the days we tell them and they comply.

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Today we wait for an invitation for wisdom and advice, and when and if we receive the invitation, we proceed with baby steps.

We ask them to seek Biblical wisdom; we cheer when they do, and we silently pray when they don’t.

We stand by them when they make great decisions. And we stand by them when we’re not sure what they were thinking. (Most often confirming that they were not thinking.)

These days we are learning to love our children no matter what. We’ve said it all of their lives and now we are invited to practice what we’ve been preaching.

We cling to the Hope we find in Proverbs 3.5.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding.

What used to be simply a verse we memorized in grade school now becomes a rock we stand on often.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding.

We give our children roots. And wings. And we remain grateful.

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