It’s hard to let the little ones grow up, not just because we miss the baby/toddler/preschooler cuteness and lisp. When children are young we have control over every aspect of their lives. We make their choices for them and control how they spend their time. When to sleep, when and what to eat, what to do during waking hours, etc.
The youngest 3 are at an age where they are not in my company on weekdays and so I have to trust they are making (what I would consider) good life choices. At the moment these choices are related to friendships and food, a little bit about behaviour and time management. But that’s all. During mornings, late afternoons and evenings of course, and whole weekends, they are in the company of adults. So, their decision-making time is rather limited.
The oldest 2 children are out there in the world entirely on their own, making choices on everything in their lives, now living what lessons were taught to them when they were under their parents’ roof. We have to hope they learned well and are making informed choices.
1. Are they working? If no, will they be able to figure out what to do next? If yes, are they happy at their job? Good job? Satisfying work? A job with a future?
2. Are they taking care of their physical selves? Making good choices wrt smoking, drinking, and sleep?
3. Are their relationships (romantic or otherwise) feeding their souls and being supportive? Are they a good influence?
4. Are they thinking about their future and working toward loftier goals than getting their rent paid on time?
5. Are they keeping in touch with us? Are we up to speed on what’s going on in their lives? Or are they relying on us too much, involving us in drama that stresses us out because we can’t do anything to resolve it? Will we be happy with the solution they come up with?
6. Are they enjoying the lives they have set up for themselves?
I am reminded of when children are just learning to walk. When I set them on the ground I had to make sure they were steady on their legs before I let go. Metaphorically that’s what we do when our children are late teens. And then in their early 20s we have to let go, confident that although they may wobble, ultimately they will walk on their own.