As a mother of three children, I have experienced a lot while raising a family. My children are currently 23, 18, and 16 years old. I well remember the sleepless night of a crying baby or a high fever. Those days have been replaced by sleepless nights while my oldest son was deployed in the Middle East and helping my daughter through the anxiety of applying for the “perfect” college and waiting for acceptance letters.
My sister has children much younger than mine, 7, 5, and 2 years old. Her experiences of raising a family revolve around younger children. I miss the days of having someone crawling in my lap to read a book or being excited by a new toy. Today I deal with teenagers who spend too much time on social media and not enough time interacting with the person standing in front of them. I knew my children reached a new level of electronic addition when my son was searching for an outdoor extension cord last night. When asked why he needed the cord, his reply was simple. He wanted to spend time in the hammock relaxing, but he needed to plug his phone in because the battery was running low. I promptly sent him outside to enjoy the birds and evening sky, instead of his small blue screen.
Recently we moved to a new state. We had lived in our previous home for 14 years, it was a small town and my children had known their friends since they started kindergarten. Wherever we went, we would see people we knew and felt as if we belonged to something bigger than just ourselves. We have lived in our new home for 3 months now, are still getting to know the area and trying to find our way around. My daughter is a senior in high school and is finishing the school year without all her friends and the festivities they had been planning for years. She is trying to look at the bright side but it is difficult. My youngest son is a sophomore in high school and is trying his best to make the adjustment successful. He has joined the wrestling and rugby teams in the hopes of making friends and representing his new school at events in the area.
My oldest son will be coming home to help celebrate his sister’s graduation in a few weeks. It will be his first leave from the Air Force in over a year and we are looking forward to his visit. I find it so fulfilling to see what he has done with his life after his rough teenage years. We dealt with drinking issues, drug issues, and the associated lying that came with all of that. Being able to turn around all the negative and end up with a positive outcome is one of the most gratifying parts of being a parent.
Seeing that all the heartaches, tears, and frustrations, can have a successful outcome and an amazing person makes me thankful each and every day for each moment I have with my children. All the wonderful moments are great but the satisfaction of seeing that you have taught your children life skills and that they possess the ability to utilize them is the culmination of years of devotion. Being a parent has been and continues to be the most important event in my life.