I see it coming—the end of the road.
Parenting starts off where it’s you and your spouse, perhaps a few friends and maybe your parents huddled together, adoring this new little person that has the audacity to take what it wants when it wants and you’re all just marching to the beat of your own drum down your path.
Slowly over time, others join you in the parade of life: pediatricians, fellow parents, teachers, spiritual leaders, music teachers, sports coaches—all walking along providing care and direction for this one soul (and all the others like her)—all in your parade.
For the first few miles, you are so tired you don’t even notice the people entering from side alleys-offering advice (sometimes solicited, sometimes not), assistance, and support.
As the years pass the pace tends to quicken and before you realize it, there it is—vaguely in the distance—the end of the parade route.
You swear that it would never come—it truly felt like this would last forever—and yet there it is.
I see it now as my daughter begins to drive, develop hard-core life skills that I didn’t become proficient in until I was at least thirty and yet here she is: sixteen and practically running her own start-up.
I inexplicably want to divert the parade route from it’s prescribed course: let’s maybe never think about career choices, sporting trips that take you to another city, or the word that starts with c and ends in -ollege.
I don’t know a higher test of human endurance than growing a human being for nine months, nurturing, teaching and guiding for the next eighteen and selflessly letting them go for the next fifty—content to be on call if needed on the sidelines but realizing that your “center of their worldness” is now over.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that it’s not the end; it’s just the beginning of her own parade route branching off from mine. I’ll still be here on my route and she’ll still be there on hers but the change seems uncomfortable yet somehow natural.
To you mamas planning for graduations and big changes coming up, I’m stockpiling tissues and candy that I will throw at you as you pass by. It’s not the end; just the start of their own parade and you’ve done well. You’ve done well.