Different Stages of Parenting

 

Tonight, as we pulled in the driveway from a long day on very little sleep, my 6-year-old son begged to go for a bike ride around the block. My body just wanted to sit down on the couch, but he was persistent. So we saddled up and off we went.

Dragging my weary body behind him, I marveled at the energy of this child. Did I ever have this much energy? Does he ever feel tired like I do? Maybe he does, but he just has the ability to ignore it. And all the while, I’m realizing that the sun is setting, the sky is golden, and the clouds are like perfect little cotton balls. If it had been up to me, I would have arrived home and sat right down on the couch. But this little human got me outside. That little nudge was enough to brighten my mood and wake me up a bit.

It was on the way back that we crossed paths with my wonderful neighbors, Mary and David. They have raised three beautiful girls who have all gone off to get married or work. I asked Mary what it was like to see the children go on about their lives, not needing us.

And she verified that it’s really, really weird.

So the two of them have started biking.

“David and I met, got married, and thought we’d have two years before getting pregnant. Well, that never happened! We got pregnant right away, so we’ve basically been raising children for our entire relationship!”

Then I glanced at my 6-year-old and thought about the phase of life we’re with our parenting. The baby stage is over, but we’re not quite into the teen years yet. There’s still a long way to go.

One street down, my friend, Hannah, had her first baby within this past year. They are just setting out on this journey. So I wonder since Mary’s daughter baby-sits my children, maybe one day my children will babysit Hannah’s?

And then one day I’ll blink and they’ll have graduated. So then what?

Watching parents in the different phases of their parenting journey feels nostalgic, daunting and bittersweet all at the curtain has closed for us. I see them watching their children graduate, and I wonder what that will be like for my husband and me. I can pretty much guarantee we won’t make it through without a box of tissues.

Raising children is hard. Finding new interests after they leave the nest must also be a daunting task. They always say to enjoy every step of the way. And though it sounds trite… it’s the truth.

 

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About Maia Rodriguez

"Military Mom" Maia Rodriguez was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but that was about twenty homes ago. After graduating from Syracuse University with a BFA in Musical Theater, she traveled just about everywhere in the country, lived in a green turtle-like tent for 6 months, toured and slept in the back of her van and even worked in Japan for a year. Then she met her husband who tamed her (ha!) and they embarked together on the adventure of parenthood in southern California where she worked as a professional pirate. Now, two children later, the family currently resides in VIrginia, where she sings for the US Navy as a vocalist. When she’s not mothering, she’s writing music for "Evernight," singing and writing for the Baby Bullet Blog.

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