The Crossroads of Parenthood

The teens are all among the working class. The boys have odd jobs consisting of farm work, lawn work, and dish washing. Becky babysits at several places. Luke is even working at the age of 12, trimming weeds for neighbors. I'm so proud of them for the hard work they do, and the willingness they have to work hard for their own money. Their respective schedules are mind boggling though, and when I need to do things like schedule dental appointments I'm just kind of shooting in the dark. I'm at the point where I just say, "if we need to reschedule, can I call?"

While I'm terribly proud of the kids for the hard work they do, I'm also a bit frustrated that they're just never home. I mean, when I plan things like family photos at least one person isn't here at any given time. Photoshop will be my best friend for Christmas cards this year. I already know it. And then things like chores are all left to me because the kids just aren't here when the dishwasher needs unloaded or the dusting needs done. It's just not right that I should be doing all the work when I have 5 kids living here. It's also not quite right that we spent the last decade plus training our kids to be epic workers only to have them use their skills to help others.

And yet there's that pride in the fact that our kids are such good workers that their employers are thrilled with them. And tell us just that any time they run into us. Getting a glowing review on your kids is always heartening.

But family projects are difficult to do. You've gotta give a lot of kids a few weeks heads' up to do things like, "hey, let's just take a day or two after the 4th of July and go to the cabin since dad is off work." We failed at giving a notice like that, so we are not going anywhere this week.

I guess this is the way life prepares parents to let go of kids when they graduate and move on to college and their own life. They slowly distance themselves, starting with work. The whole they're here but they're not here thing is just the first step in the empty nest syndrome.

I'm just not sure I'm ready for this. Is anyone? Ever?

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