I can almost write a book about the dilemmas that come with parenting. For most of the 14+ years that I had my sons, I was a single parent trying to navigate strange waters.
It's amazing how new challenges pop-up like ants at a picnic. Choosing the right baby formula turned into battles over eating vegetables. Picking the right cartoons for my toddler to watch turned into protecting my son on MySpace. Teaching ABC's turned into teeny-tiny wars over grades and study habits in junior high school.
But in addition to being a mother for 14+ years, I've been a daughter for 36+. Through both experiences - and countless conversations with other parents - one dilemma stands-out as the biggest:
How to adjust after releasing grown children into the world and into God's hands.
As my oldest son progresses through high school, I find myself almost daydreaming about the process of releasing him to college and beyond. I wonder if he can really commit to college. I wonder when he will marry. And my heart wonders how often he'll call home to say, "I love you."
In an amazing case of "perfect timing," I'm in a personal struggle with my relationship with my own mother. She's not satisfied when I don't take her advice. And I'm not satisfied that her advice comes with a hint of command - as if my own goals, wisdom, growth, and desires are flimsy and irrelevant.
But in her defense, when do parents really stop seeing their child as A child? My mother pulls things from my failed marriage, my 20's and even my teenage years during a disagreement. I replace temporary hurt and anger with permanent waiting...
I'm waiting with a broken heart for her to see me as an almost-40 woman.
I'm waiting for what I want from life to have more relevance in her eyes.
I'm waiting for her to realize that I learned more from the inside of my mistakes than she could possibly perceive from the outside of my mistakes.
Most of all, I'm waiting for her to realize that God didn't consult her when he created the purpose for my life.
And before I close my eyes at night, I wonder if I'll be able to do the same as a mother to my sons. Will they ever have to wait for me?