To me, parenting children can be compared to the seasons. Babyhood through elementary school is like spring and summer. Every day can be new, sometimes exhausting and unpredictable, but beautiful and sunny more days than not. The teenage years are a little like late autumn, some glorious days but mostly watching all the change knowing the warm days are ending soon. Then, somewhere around high school graduation winter begins. The freeze, intense weather, and bearing with the distance from the sun. There is something to enjoy about each season; they each have their challenges and discoveries.
One thing you can count on: the seasons of our parenting lives will always change.
Recently I spent some time at the high school for my third daughter who will be a freshman this year. I’m excited for her to try new things and make a whole new set of friends. I’m also very aware about how much closer she is to leaving home, becoming an adult, and facing harder challenges.
High school is a time for self discovery and socializing, not for hanging out with your parents. She used to come along with me on every outing from the grocery store to the post office, lots of trips to the park or a playground. Now my husband and I take turns driving her around to meet up with friends, go to parties, or head to the mall to shop for clothes. We feel like taxi drivers. If you have a tween or teen, you know the feeling. This season of parenting feels like fall...exciting and beautiful, but also lots to do and get ready for as things change more and more. The winter of when she won’t live with us anymore is drawing closer and it makes me a little nostalgic.
Parenting a teenager brings times to rejoice and celebrate as well as difficult moments when fears and hurts need to be carefully and thoughtfully listened to...and dealt with. We still snuggle and exchange hugs and kisses...when she’s home and I’m awake. Holding on and letting go is the great struggle of parenting. But, ultimately, I'm learning, we're not the one in charge of the seasons. They will come whether we want them to or not. The leaves will fall from the trees, it will get colder, and the snow will come. I’m hopeful I can enjoy all this season and lean into each beautiful moment.
What season are you in now with your child or children?
What season did you love the most?