June 13, 2016 by jeliwobble
Sometimes, I simply have to bury my head in the sand of the minutiae of my life because, otherwise, the enormity of the macroscopic bullshittery of the world threatens to overwhelm my ordinarily rose-tinted pessimism.
I stand on the edge of the summer holidays looking windward. In this moment, the holidays appear to stretch into the distance, the new school year a smudgy mirage on the horizon. Sunny beaches and golden fields fill my vista, however disquieting the crowding perimeters of violence and political turmoil seem to be.
The last few weeks have been a whirl of softball and rugby, string and recorder concerts, end of term parties and Senior Prom, internship/work experience and, finally, this coming Friday, Eldest’s High School graduation.
Quite how I have got to being the parent of a High School graduate, let alone of someone entering college to hopefully study biomedical engineering, is anyone’s guess. That they are also one of the most conscientious, considerate young people I know, someone who has definite ideas of who they are, and what they wish to be, someone who will not let situations or environment affect their central core beliefs in equality, fairness and love, these things are a constant and bewildering surprise to this parent, who feels she has failed to live up to the parenting of someone as astounding and outstanding.
The enormity of being the parent of a person who is teetering on the brink of shiny adulthood is just sinking in. This newly minted citizen, about to step out into their own Brave New World, with all their ideas and ideals, while burnished by High School, still fairly untouched by the apathetic indifference of the Bored Old World. The deep need to protect this adult child, fragile like butterfly wings, but hard like diamond, vomits forth from me daily, without the ability to rein it back. The constant stream of ‘try this, try that, take this away from this learning experience, you are doing great, have you done this, attend to that’ must be as wearying for Eldest as it is for me.
The transition between parenting a child and parenting an adult creeps up on you and then, in no time at all, there they are, packing up their things, and moving their own selves into their own lives, and you’re left gasping at the edge of their childhood, criminally unprepared for the fact that they no longer need you in the way that they did, but also entirely unready for the way that they need you now.
So, as always, you surge forward into the unknown, flying by the seat of your pants, hoping that you get at least some of it right, hoping not to mess it up so badly that you end up damaging them, while still trying, desperately at times, to protect them from everything else, hoping that everything you’ve taught them, shown them, proved to them the opposite by doing it wrong, does the protecting for you when you can’t be there, which is, increasingly, most of the time.
Parenting an adult doesn’t feel much different from parenting a child. Other than the obvious fact that they don’t live with you any more, which makes sending them to their room that much more difficult.