We welcome Priscilla A Kissinger to the blog today!
As your children age, your role as a parent changes. The parenting tools you once skillfully used grow dull and you quickly try to master new ones.
The easily answered questions they once asked—“Mommy, why do I have to go to school?”—grow tougher—“Which college should I choose?”
The child who once crawled onto your lap to snuggle or cuddle, now gives you a quick wave on her way out the door to meet up with friends.
The babies who depended on you to keep the household running smoothly, pack their bags and take the first step to independence and living on their own.
All three of my girls headed off to colleges that were multiple states and at least a two-day drive away from home. As children in a former military family Baby Girl 1 & 2 were used to moving; and while we stayed in one place for most of Baby Girl 3’s formative years we travel quite a bit, so she’s used to seeing new places.
When Baby Girl 1 headed off, it took me over two weeks to have the courage to walk into her room. And when I did, I laid down on her bed, imagined her there with me, and, teary-eyed, prayed that she was okay.
Baby Girl 2 headed off to the same school as 1, so I wasn’t as nervous about her being all alone so far from home. Yet, I caught myself poking my head into her room and reminiscing. Pretending she was merely out with friends and would be home soon.
Flash forward to Baby Girl 3’s departure. A single parent now, even though I was accustomed to this important rite of passage, all summer I found myself not thinking about that moment when I would drive away, leaving my baby behind. Rather, I talked about how exciting this opportunity would be for her. Frankly, I knew that focusing on what this rite of passage meant for her was probably the only way I’d get through it.
Parenting is tough. We want the best for our children. We want to protect them. Keep them safe. Ensure they’re happy and healthy.
Yet, our kids age and the time comes for us to trust that we’ve prepared them well to go out into this big, scary, and exciting world ready to make their positive mark on it.
The conversation changes from:
“Mommy, I have a boo-boo.”
“Come here, sweetie, and I’ll kiss it all better.”
“Mom, I have a problem.”
“Okay then, sweetie, have you tried problem-solving for a positive solution?”
Then child who couldn’t wait to get out of Dodge and be on her own, calls you up teary and homesick. Stressed about class schedules, commitments, responsibilities, laundry issues, and life choices. While there’s that a part of you that wants to “make it all better”, you know that’s not what your baby needs.
She needs reassurance that she can handle this. A pep talk reminding her of what she’s accomplished and what she is capable of doing. Sometimes she needs a little tough love—“Adult life is hard, but you suck it up and stop whining.” And sometimes, you just get on a plane and fly half way across the country to give your Baby Girl a hug.
Because you’ll always be mommy. No matter what age they are. And couldn’t we all use a hug from a loved one more often than not?
Priscilla A Kissinger is a three-time Golden Heart finalist who writes contemporary romance with a Latino flavor. A single mom with three daughters, Priscilla recently earned an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. During the day she works as an administrator at a major university, and she spends her free time writing, reading, playing tennis, training for half marathons, watching sports and singing karaoke with her family. You can find out more about her at www.prisakiss.com.