Grown Up Children

I have two adult children.  As I reflect back on their lives I am so very proud of the young adult men they have grown up to be.  My youngest just turned 25 yesterday.  I remember back when I turned that age and we (my dear hubby & I) joked about turning a quarter of a century old.  Back then it felt like we were getting old.  Now when I see it in my sons I still see them as being young.   Their personality differences has made watching them grow up an experience.  One being outgoing, hyper, ready to argue for arguments sake, the other being laid back, quiet, ready to fix things where ever possible.  Opposite sides of a coin.  Looking back it is very enjoyable to remember the many things that they did that brought laughter and joy to the house.

Both of my children have flown from the nest.  Both have gone to far off places to grow into their own adult hood.  We raised them to be independent, to stand on their own two feet and make a difference in the world.  We live in an area where families live in pod groups.  Grandma lives next door to auntie or uncle or mom and dad, next to brother or sister or even great uncle.  Sometimes I wish we were that type of family.  I want to keep them close, to watch their children when they have them, to know what their day to day lives are like.  Okay, I want to be an interfering mom that drives them crazy; but that is not the mom they know so I fight that urge.  Sometimes more successfully then others.

My oldest flew the nest for 6 years, then he went through some difficulties and he came back home for a year.  Now he is getting ready to fly out on his own again and take back his life.  He is heading off to college and creating as great career.  My youngest graduated college and has a great career with a great company.  He is exploring new things and learning how to be an individual.

This last year with my oldest son has been fantastic.  I got to know him as an adult.  He left home at 19 before the mature young man he is was fully developed.  He joined the military, got married, got out of the military, and is getting divorced all in 6 years.  It seems like such a short time, but during the midst of it, they were long, long years.  Long years of silence as he quit talking to us, long years of worry knowing that he was in a situation that was not healthy, both emotionally or physically.  Just hoping and praying that the next time we saw him was not to say our final goodbyes.  And now we are both so thankful that he came through that situation more mature and able to see the signs now when a person is not quite what they portray themselves to be.  He has learned to steer clear of those situations.  But when he is faced with one he faces it head on and says thanks but no thanks.

Even with all that I still find myself interfering; giving advice I am sure he does not want.  It is very hard not to treat him like the 16 year old that I remember.  I don’t know how other parents handle having a grown up child that lives at home.  Do they still give them curfews or chores?  Are they expected to pay rent or share the expenses?  During this year we have chosen to let my son get out from under the financial difficulties he found himself in.  We provide his food and shelter and in return he washes the dishes and helps with the laundry.  He has had a chance to bring the thousands of dollars in debt created by an irresponsible spouse down to a manageable level.  The year of required separation is up, now all we are waiting on is the signatures on the dotted line that severs all ties.   I find myself very grateful that this time is almost over and breathing a prayer of “Thank you God for the sheltering hand you have given to my son.”

My youngest son, stepped out of the door of college and right into a career.  He has learned how to live on his own, to be in a quiet place separated from family and friends; and he has learned to thrive.  He is creating a life for himself independently, standing on his own two feet and learning the importance of saving for a rainy day.  He has had unexpected life changes, but he handled them well with maturity and the ability to adjust to things without loosing himself in a deep pit of emotions.  Now he is moving on.  He is creating strong friendships with people near him that he would not have if his life had taken a different route.  He inspires me.  When he was younger we always said he had an old soul.  He was always more mature, more adjusted, more responsible than others his age.  You could see it in his eyes.  Now that personality trait is paying off as those around him see it too.  Everyone that meets him falls in love with him.  He has that personality that draws you in and makes your life better just for knowing him.

As I watch my sons I marvel at the people they have become.  How did I, a product of a very dysfunctional, very damaging childhood, raise two very awesome boys.  How have I not passed my negative personal issues on to these two so very well adjusted men?  All I can say in answer to that is it took lots and lots of prayer, the shared responsibility of raising my sons with both a mom and dad committed to each other, and the help of some wonderful Christian women that I turned to for advise through the years.

Now I have grown up children.  I am once again preparing myself for the empty nest.  I need to change my thinking.  I don’t have grown up children.  I have grown adults.  I have two awesome, fantastic, super, marvelous, first class, awe-inspiring examples of the adult I want to become when I grow up.


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