Sailing the Seas of Parenthood

This has been a year of change for our family. At times it has not been fun. Saying good-bye to way of life I’d known for over eighteen years and realizing things will never be as they once were is still hard to process. Learning how to be a mom to two young adults has been a challenge, but one I’m happy to say I’m enjoying.

Watching my children follow their passions and go bravely out into the world determined to follow their path and make their dreams come true is exhilarating. It’s the open door to the closed window of their childhood. It’s what makes me smile when the memory of hearing their once tiny voices plead “carry me!” brings a tinge of pain for what will never be again.

I laughed as I climbed the stairs to Kai’s dorm that housed him for the week of Jazz Ensemble camp at FSU. For coming down the stairs was a slew of parents carrying suitcases and bed linens. We all had the same look of pride and exhaustion. We were easing our children into adulthood. We were their guide, their pack mule, their bank, their counselor, their driver and their biggest cheerleader. Plus, we all knew that after sleeping on a thin mattress and sharing a bathroom with three roommates our young campers would miss home. Being missed is always a good feeling even if it’s partly due to a comfortable bed.

Earlier that morning Eric and I sat and watched Kai’s jazz concert. It was amazing what the professors had taught in one week. The students looked proud to be onstage performing; their passion for music had been fueled by their teachers.

FSU camp performance FSU Ensemble performance FSU Guest Musician

Guest musician Melvin Jones playing with the Barnhart Big Band.

In the middle of the concert Eric’s phone lit up. Arielle was calling. We knew she had just completed her marathon (26.2 miles!) in Duluth, Minnesota. Calling us right after meant great news! We were nervous for her because we knew how important completing the marathon in under three hours was to her. I just kept telling Arielle that the hard work, practicing six days a week all year and two practices a day all summer was going to show results. It did! She called to tell us she completed the marathon in two hours and fourteen minutes!

Eric and I sat watching Kai perform at the Ruby Diamond Auditorium, Arielle had just qualified for the Boston Marathon. We felt a sense of overwhelming joy. Our parenting life was changing. It’s as if we have cut the ropes and are letting our children sail away to explore distant seas. They carry with them whispers of our lessons. When the seas get rough or seem too endless we are their lighthouse and their dock, their guide and their home always welcoming, always proud.

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