What Your Great Grandma Never Told You: Life with Adult Children

Do you remember when your son or daughter was a newborn baby?  When you carried them around with pride.  You wanted the world to see this amazing creature that you were given to raise.  Other mothers would gawk, and coo at your baby.  Grandmothers would hover over them and give their praise.  But what about those great grandmothers?

You know I don’t remember great grandmother saying too much.  She was happy for me of course, but she just gave me a look.  A look that I didn’t understand, until recently.  A look of wisdom.  She could see what was ahead for me.  Great grandmother was wise and knew there was no use telling me.  I wouldn’t listen.

She knew that I was under the assumption that being a parent was an 18 year job.

She saw the look in my eye.  The look that said I will hold this child forever.

She knew that this cute stage would soon be over and replaced by years of hard work and strain.

She knew that my naivety about what was to come would serve me well.  I didn’t need to know what was coming yet.  It would come soon enough. She left me to enjoy the blissful beginning of raising children.

What great grandmother didn’t tell me

Great grandmother didn’t tell me that the hardest part would come when these babies grew up and left.  She didn’t tell me the anguish of watching adult children leave, and then living through their tumultuous life.

She didn’t tell me about the range of emotions that are possible to feel because of our children.  How one minute I would be glad they were gone, and the next I would be on the floor crying because they were moving away.

She didn’t tell me that this innocent babe would someday hurt and disappoint me.  How I would watch them suffer, make bad decisions, hurt and not be able to do anything about it.

She didn’t tell me about the mid-life crisis I would experience when faced with an empty nest.  How I would be prone to worry and fret, and at the same time be happy to have the opportunity to be a woman again.

She didn’t tell me about this crazy thing called parenting adult children.  I wish she had.  I wish she were here, and could tell me how to live through this stage of parenting.  How do I let go?  How long will it take to get used to them being gone?  When will it get easier handling the roller coaster of their lives?  When will I stop having an emotional breakdown because they say they are moving away, or moving closer?

I love my four children, and am thankful for every moment, but this mid-life empty nest thing drains my energy, my emotions, and has been the most confusing time in my life.  I remember thinking I wouldn’t survive the days when I had a newborn, 2 year old, 4 year old, and 9 year old.

Yet, great grandmother knew.  She knew that was the easy part.  She knew what was ahead, and she was kind and let me enjoy my naivety while it lasted.  The wisdom in her eyes came after learning how to deal with many years of turmoil, trial and suffering.  She knew it would be hard for me, and she knew it would be okay.

She knew the only way for me to develop my own wise gaze was to live through what was to come.  She knew nothing could stop it from coming.  Her smile was one of caution.  Welcome to motherhood, Marcy.  The hardest and most wonderful thing you will ever do.

Thankful for Christ

I seriously don’t know why I am trying to blog and help others.  My son called me yesterday.  He is overseas for 6 months in the Navy.  We had a nice talk.  Something I don’t always get.  He shared with me some of his plans and thoughts about his future.  I got off the phone and my silly mom heart said, okay this is good.  “I got a bead on things”.

So I took an hour nap.  Satisfied with life for a very brief moment.  I woke up to find a text from my oldest daughter.  Mom, don’t be scared, but we are looking at the possibility of moving several states away.  What did I do?

I lost it.  I cried.  I tried to pick up the pieces of my emotional breakdown and went for a jog.  I cried there too.  I came home distraught and acted as if God didn’t exist.  I tried to gather my senses.  A nice hot shower, small dinner, and prayer would do the trick.

I spent some time in God’s Word, and prayed earnestly for God’s help.  I thought a movie would get my mind off things as well.  Somehow I fell asleep last night hoping that somehow that combination of things would make it all alright.

It’s all Christ.  What can I say.  I woke up refreshed, but went to work today emotionally drained.  I just wanted to cry.  Yet God’s Word worked to refresh me, and God strengthened me.  He is a good God.

I am thankful for Christ.  For His patience with me, His faithfulness, His kindness, and His love.  I love these four people with all my heart.  They make my heart melt.  I want to protect but need to let go.  I want to say stay, but need to say go.

How Christ will I ever live through this?  When will I ever get used to these babies being all grown up, and living on their own.  I am thankful that you let them into my life and pray that you will keep them, and help them to follow your way, not mine.

I pray in these difficult times of transition that I will develop the wise gaze great grandmother had, and be ready to give that look when I see my great grandchildren.

For His Glory,

Marcy Pedersen

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