Remember the summer holidays you had a child without a care on the world, when all you did the whole day was play with friends, went for walks and outings, ate ice-cream and wondered what was there for dinner? These lazy days were so beautifully innocent that even reminiscing about them brings a smile to my face. But, as we all know, change is the only constant, and so we grew up and left home, went to university, got a job, got married and had children of our own.
And again summer holidays took on a different dimension, this time with us being on the other end and watching and “managing” our children’s activities. From having little care as children to becoming the responsible parent full of careful planning and meticulous execution. And because we as parents want to provide the best for our children, we invest our thoughts and ideas to help our children have the best summer ever. Every summer.
Now fast forward to some years. The children will grow up, they will leave home, go to university, get a job, get married and have children of their own. The cycle continues, as it must and as it should. And they will carry the baton forward while the next generation lies ahead to continue this dance we call life.
What happens or will happen to us then? This is probably the time when we can most acutely feel how our parents must have felt when we left. There is a nostalgic haunting sense of loss, as we move through their rooms and look at their clothes they left in a hurry to get to the airport. The feeling is heart-wrenching and sobering at the same time. We feel their absence in our bones as each breath reminds us of their happy faces, when summer was still young and our lives were a whirlwind of happiness.
Is the antidote to this than not to leave? The truth is there is no antidote. There will be times that tug at our heart strings, there will be moments of intense sadness, there will be memories that remind us of what we have lost. The way to navigate is to gain understanding of these uncharted waters and what qualities we need to stay on course. When our children fly the nest we have to still be the home they can come back to when they need to. The challenge is to continue living our lives, encouraging them to fly while holding the safe space for them and us and to do all of this with utmost grace and ease.
I would love to hear what challenges you are facing as parents of adolescents.
Love and light,
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Photo by Viktoria Alipatova on pexels