AN OPEN LETTER TO MY 18 & 19 YEAR – Parenting Adult Children

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When I first found out I was expecting our first child, I thought I would be excited. I was thrilled, but my initial reaction when I first saw the pregnancy test that I was holding in my hand was positive, fear hit me like a brick. I was going to be responsible for a human being. My first thought was this is going to be a scary and rough journey. I had no idea what to expect.

When our little baby boy was born, that fear hit me all over again. What do I do if he cries? How will I know if he is hungry, or how will I know if he has had enough? How do I give this baby, who was not even 6 pounds, a bath? What if he stops breathing in the middle of the night? What if I screw his little life up? What if I am a horrible mother? I think the last question was my biggest fear. I didn’t want to be the one to mess his life up.

When I found that we were expecting a baby girl much sooner than we had planned, all those questions began flooding my mind again. Now I have two I needed to worry about. Two babies to take care of, and it was so overwhelming I was not sure if I would get it right.

As you both grew, it was a lot like having twins. I got asked so many times if you WERE twins. I sometimes said “Yes!” At times, it was much easier to say that, then to say “No, they are just ten months apart.”. Then I would get that look and instant judgment. Then I would say, “yes we waited and yes I know what causes that.” It was just in God’s plan for us to have two babies so close in age. I really don’t know what the reason is, but you both have most definitely been a blessing in our life.

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Life with babies so close in age was great, and I enjoyed each moment that I had with you both. You always had someone to play with. I never had to worry about one or the other, because you would protect each other and fight for each other. You have these “twin moments” where no body around you really knows what just happened but it is like you spoke to each other in your minds. You just laugh and go on.

I knew a day would come when you both would leave our home and it would most likely be close to the same time. Even though you both are still living in our home, I have discovered just recently, that having adult children is quite difficult. I thought rocking a baby at two in the morning because they are crying and I really had no reason why, was difficult, but parenting a 18 and 19-year-old is every bit as challenging. For 17 years, you have been like little chicks under my wings, and now your little wings have become a little bit stronger and ready to take flight. I guess you can call me a “mother hen”, always fussing over you and interfering a bit too much. I am sure you get tired of me asking, “where will you be going?”, “when will you be home?”, “who will you be with?”. I REALLY do need to know these things. Even though you are 18 and soon to be 19, I have literally spent your whole life knowing where you are and what you have been doing. It is completely impossible for me to stop cold turkey. IMPOSSIBLE! I worry. So when I ask where you are, and what you will be doing, or get that text that says “Hey I am just checking on you”, I am not trying to control your life, I HAVE to know, so I won’t worry MYSELF to DEATH.

I get it!!! You are legally an adult. I totally understand that technically you don’t have to ask permission to go somewhere or do anything, and for the most part, you guys are great about letting me know.  I want you to know I appreciate that. You will understand when you are parents of your own.

You will understand what I am going through as I watch you grow up and become adults and on your own. It is hard. I want to do things for you.  I know……i am a bit of a control freak…..I will totally admit that. I can’t help it, it is in my nature to make sure every little thing is in order. I am in a major transitional period right now. I can’t act the same way I use to.  I need to learn to treat you as adults, but I still have that longing to feel needed.

I miss watching you sit in little cardboard boxes and watch TV together. I miss watching you ride around in your little battery operated cars. Do you remember the John Deere Gator and the little Gray Beetle?  You both had one, but for some reason you could not ride separately. You both would hop in one and ride it till it died and then hop in the other one and ride it till it died. We should have just bought one instead of two. It makes me smile just to think about it, and tear up at the same time.  I miss you standing side by side gathering vegetable cans from the pantry and loading a dump truck to haul off to who knows where.  I yearn to watch you standing next to each other while singing in choir in elementary school. I hardly have a picture that I don’t have both of you in it. You two were just inseparable.

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I suppose some of that has not changed. You two are still each others best friend and I guarantee if something happened to the other one there would be a fight on our hands. I know that one would be lost without the other. I also know that I can’t keep you young forever. Everyone has to grow up.  It is what God intended. Of course, if I had my wish, I would turn back time and do it all over again.

I just want you to know that if you have ever felt like I ruined your life in any way, I am sorry. That was never my intention. I love you both so much, and all I have ever wanted was to be a good mother. You may believe this or not, but I am not perfect. I have made mistakes, and I am sure at times, have made you angry. There are times where I don’t even like myself.  I laughed at that, but that is so true. So if you ever read this, I just want you to know I love you.  I love you both.  It is not easy being a mom.  We get yelled at for no reason.  We get blamed for just about everything, especially when something is lost. We get taken advantage of….. a lot. Sometimes we feel that we do everything and everyone else just sits back and relaxes. There have been times when my favorite snack is in the pantry and go into the kitchen to eat it and someone says they want it also. Well you know, I always give it to you, and I go without.

Now, this may be a little “too much info”, but this momma has not purchased underwear for herself in about six or seven years. That is not a lie. I have two pairs of jeans, very few socks, and shoes that are practically falling apart. I seldom buy clothes for myself, and if I do it is dirt cheap.   To be honest, I really don’t care.  If I have to go without, so my kids can have more, then that is what I do. I always make sure you have what you need. It may not always be exactly what you want, but I have always tried. I have worked two or sometimes three side jobs, just so I can purchase school clothes or presents for Christmas. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I would never give myself more and you have less. I have no regrets.

So as you go off on different journeys in life, don’t forget your momma. I will always be here. I hope you don’t resent me for being an over-protective, ole’ mother hen.  I don’t think I would have changed even if you wanted me to.  I think you will understand when you have children of your own.  You will then understand why it hurts when you get that “eye roll” or that long sigh or grunt.  You will also know how I feel at this very moment; making a transition of being a parent of a child to a parent of an adult.

In the words of Robin Sharma, “Change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous in the end.”  You will get through this better than me. You will be excited about this change, and to busy too notice.  I will be happy and proud of you, like I always have been.  Being a parent of an Adult child may be hard at first, but I know it will be gorgeous in the end.

 

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