The Greatest Parenting Success is the Most Heartbreaking

I have been a Mother since the age of 25.  Well, I had Sofia when I was 25.  I have always felt like I was born to be a Mom.  I have dreamed my whole life of having children.  It’s all I ever wanted.  I was married at 20, started trying to have a baby at 23.  I had some complications keeping a pregnancy before I had my children.  Read my journey here.  Then I was blessed with two beautiful healthy children.

I have always been very intentional about being a Mom.  I have taken this role, this responsibility, this privilege very seriously. I have always felt like God has gifted me with these two beautiful children.  It is my honor to raise them into the best people I know how to.

I have always been focused on enjoying the present and not missing a moment.  And at the exact same time, focusing on how I can help raise my children into the best adults.  Towing this line is a dance.  

Every phase they are going thru is wonderful; even if that stage is challenging.  I always find the beauty in it.  Because I know once they have outgrown that phase, it’s gone forever.  I take it all in, I enjoy every moment.  At the same time I’m also focused on the future. How is my parenting and their behavior going to look when they are adults?  

If there is a behavior that I find unacceptable, I do not focus on how to change it for the immediate future.  I do not focus on changed behavior for 5 minutes or for a day.  I focus on instilling values that will shape who they are as people.  I want them to choose the right path because they want to, not because I’m telling them to.  Much of this comes from me having conversations with them and explaining the Why behind everything.

There are only a few short years I had with my kids at home where I got to see everything.  Once they are off to school all day long, 5 days a week; there is so much I do not see and I’m not in control of.  And the older they get the more true this is.  I don’t know the conversations Sofia is having with her friends at school.  I don’t know a lot of things my kids are doing because I’m not actually there to see it.  I have to trust them.  I have to trust I have raised them to make the best choices.

My goal as a Mom has been to raise confident, independent adults.  I want them to always know I love them.  I want them to chase after their dreams and never settle.  I want them to reach for the stars and run after it so aggressively, knowing that I am their safety net.  I want them to know how to take care of themselves and not be completely clueless to simple life tasks.

Recently I can see I am being successful.  It is the most proud and most heartbreaking thing.  I am watching my children be so independent, so confident, doing so many things on their own.  They don’t need me to make them breakfast or pack a lunch or do their laundry or help them with homework.  They know how to do it all!! And that’s so amazing!!

I know they will always need me.  But not in the same way.  It all shifts as they get older and start doing things on their own.  They may not need me to make them breakfast, but I know they love it when I do.  It’s just different.

I am so very aware of this change happening.  It’s like I can tangibly see it right in front of my eyes.  And time keeps going quicker.  I am soaking up every single moment I get with them.  I know I’m going to blink and I will be driving Sofia to college.  Then Caleb is just 2 years behind her.

This last Saturday morning I woke up before them.  I got my coffee and got back into bed.  As I was sipping my coffee and reading, Caleb woke up and came into my room.  He crawled into bed, under the sheets and got cozy.  He still had that sleepy, just woke up look.  It was so precious.  Then Sofia woke up and came over.  The three of us, and Phoebe, sat in bed for at least 30 minutes talking and laughing.  During that time I took a pause.  I looked at each of them and the moment, I took a mental picture.  I told myself to always remember this moment.  It’s moments like these that make life so beautiful.

Then that night I found myself sitting alone watching a movie while they were hanging out with their friends.  This is the part of parenting I was not prepared for.  I spend a good amount of time alone, sitting around in case they need me.  The older they get the more independent lives they have.  Their friends, their activities, their social life, their plans.  This is exactly how it should be, but I was not ready for it to happen.

I can feel this pulling away.  This desire to have more independence separate from me.  I feel is especially from Sofia when she started high school. I can’t hold on too tight just because I’m feeling emotional.  I have to let go a little.  Let her practice flying while she is still living at home and I can catch her if she falls.

My greatest joy and proudest moment is when she will be able to fly high and soar all on her own.  But it will also break my heart to not have her in my nest any more.  And that is why the greatest parenting success is also the most heartbreaking.