Monday, December 30, 2013

Cutting the Cord

One of our Christmas traditions for the past ten years or so is sending my kids to my mom's house several days before Christmas.   They get to spend extra time doing Christmas stuff with Grandma Mary and Abby and I get a day or two to ourselves to finish up Christmas shopping.   Even now that I have two teenagers and one tweener, they still enjoy going up to Tarkio to spend time with Grandma and I think that makes my mom happy.
Molly and Emma helping their cousin
Joe, build a gingerbread house

The kids hanging out at Grandma Mary's

This year we made a little change.  Instead of meeting Mom and turning over the kids halfway, my oldest daughter, Emma, drove her siblings all the way there.   To say I was a little freaked out is bit of an understatement.   She had never driven that far on her own so I was worried until I knew they were safe at my mom's house.  I even went as far as having my daughter log onto the "Find my iPhone" app on my iPad so that I could track their progress.

I don't consider myself a "helicopter parent" by any means.  I don't hover around them and try to push myself on them.  While I help guide them, I think I do a decent job letting them develop on their own to include learning the ramifications of their actions.  And they have rewarded me by being their own, unique individuals.

As they get older, I'm going to have a real difficult time letting them out from under my protective wing.  I'm learning this as my oldest is 18 now and fortunately still a senior in high school.   And fortunately, probably going to stay at home for the next couple of years when she goes to community college.  I don't think I'm ready to send her off to some dorm room at a college.  It probably doesn't help that she finally got her driver's license in September.  And three days later, as I'm still getting used to her going places alone, she had a blow-out on the highway and rolled her car, totaling it.   Fortunately, she had her seatbelt on and was safe but my nerves were frayed.
The remains of Emma's Honda after it rolled

It's all part of growing up--for my kids as well as for me as an adult and parent.  And I have to constantly remind myself that I was in the Marines when I was her age (which kind of freaks me out more).

It makes me wonder how God, the ultimate Father, worries about us, his children.  He knows better than anyone the dangers of the world and the troubles that we humans can get ourselves into.  He knows the ramifications of our choices both in the physical and spiritual world.  But He loves us enough to give us free will and allows us to go out into the world.

He lets us go out into the world and He is always there for us when we need Him.  I need to use that model and let my kids go out into the world and be there for them when they need me.  I also need to trust that God will give them the grace they need to make the right decision and to protect them.

Still, I can't help but wonder, how difficult it is for that shepherd to allow that one sheep to wander without just yanking it back to the herd.  

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