It’s funny how you go through life, and some things really do end. Jobs, friendships, school, all manner of things. One that does not, or at least it doesn’t if you’re doing it right, is being a Mom. It never ends. This is not a bad thing at all. In fact, it’s one of the best things ever. But some people think that once you raise your kids to the legal age of majority, that being a parent is pretty much done. Incredibly naive, and wrong. If you doubt me, think about your own life. Did you stop thinking of your parents as your support system the minute you turned 18? Didn’t think so.
It wasn’t that I was looking forward to being done raising my kids. More like I was surprised at how much they still needed me. I think I was afraid they would relegate me to the “old toys box.” I truly expected to go the way of the Barbies and Ninja Turtles. I was actually thrilled to realize that they still needed me. There truly was a learning curve about how I was supposed to respond though. For instance, there are the “vent” phone calls. My kid will call me, and be completely distraught about something. In the beginning, my mother lion chromosomes kicked in, and I’d be all about the solving of the problem. I’d be insistent as to how things could be worked out, and it took me a while to realize that not unlike me, sometimes my kids just needed to have a safe place to vent. We have this great system now where they either say up front that they just want to vent, or I ask if they are venting or asking for help. It’s amazing how well things go if everybody just says what they really want.
I appreciate the whole circle of life thing. I realize that my time as the “mommy” is past, and now it’s my children’s turn to be the parents. That means that I get to be the grandparent, and I believe I’ll already established the fact that this might be the coolest job ever. But unlike what some people might think, it doesn’t mean that I have to put myself on an ice chunk and float myself out to sea. At the same time, I try to remain very cognizant that it has been 25 years since I had a baby, and a couple of things may have changed since then. I try very hard not to give unsolicited baby advice. I have a mantra that I repeat, and it’s even become popular among my mother and her sisters: “Not my kid, not my problem.” Don’t mistake this to mean that I don’t care about what happens. It just means that I understand that I’m not a person with decision making status. I don’t have the rights, and I don’t have the responsibilities. So if I think that the baby is wearing something that isn’t warm enough, I get to ask one time “Do you think she should have a jacket?” and then I have to let it go. This also doesn’t mean that I have to ignore a potentially dangerous situation. Luckily, my own children are fabulous parents, and this doesn’t come up, but I have been around some much younger parents that needed to have potential dangers pointed out to them.
My children all still ask my advice. I cannot begin to tell you how gratifying that can be. I am still a major part of their lives, but then, my mother is still a major part of mine. You never stop being a mom. It’s a forever job, and I am thankful every day for that.