I remember when I wouldn’t let my kids out of my sight. I would hold their hands in the mall or while walking from the car to the fast food restaurant. I had to have my eyes on them all the time. It’s not that I didn’t trust them, but we live in a tough world.
My girls are grown now. And they aren’t girls; they are young women. They have found their wings, and, in their own distinct ways, they are flying. Erin is getting married this fall, so our house is busy with wedding planning. Hayley is working at the church and with Sherwood Pictures, so she’s constantly got some task to put her hands to.
I’ve had the privilege of taking them on trips to New York City, Los Angeles, London, Scotland, and Israel. I always had them “in my sight,” if you will. Even as they were older and would venture out, I still was in the same vicinity.
Last November, they boarded a plane and went to Italy on a cruise for ten days. They were thousands of miles away and many times were out of contact. We would get an occasional text or email telling us what they were doing, but for the most part they were grown up and on their own…and they didn’t need Dad!
A few weeks ago, they traveled to NYC to take Erin and Bill’s engagement pictures, with Hayley acting as the official photographer. They got great pictures in Times Square and Central Park. They built memories…and they didn’t need Dad!
Believe it or not, I don’t feel slighted or left out or ignored. This is why we raise our kids. We raise them to grow up and find their wings. We raise them to release them. We teach them, train them, love them, discipline them, and guide them so one day they can stand on their own two feet.
Parents should not feel threatened or discouraged as their kids branch out on their own. They should rejoice in the process. Terri and I have worked diligently to be good parents. We are proud of our girls and their achievements. And to be honest, I love this age as much as I did when they were two. No, I can’t put them in my lap and hug them like I could then, but I can look at them and see two confident young women who know what they want out of life. That, to me, is success. They’ve grown up and kept their faith and have become more than I could have ever imagined when they were two.
I don’t get to talk to either of them as much as I would like to. They are often out of sight, but never out of my mind. I like my grownup kids. Yes, I still worry about them when they are out. (What parent doesn’t?!) We pray for them every day that God will protect them. I may not see them or talk to them every day (which may seem weird to you since Hayley and I work in the same building), but I know God is watching over them. They are in good hands. They have a heavenly Father who loves them even more than I do. And understanding that has made this 56-year-old kid happy.