I am finally ready to talk about it…I think 🙂 I am sorry for the overload of pictures. This blog is for all of my mama (and daddio) friends with kids who have not yet graduated. It is a friendly warning and something NO ONE EVER prepares you for…THE LAUNCH! What is the launch you ask? Well it is when you launch your child, your baby, into the adult world. When you have kids, people prepare you for all kinds of things through the infant, toddler, tween and teenage years…you know what to expect, they write books about it, they have all kinds of groups for new moms, you have the ability to be super involved in every part of your kid’s lives..….and then it happens….they Launch….. this my friends, will bring you the craziest roller coaster of emotions you have ever been on, you will not be prepared. It is such a cool yet crazy time, watching your ‘8 pound, 6 ounce Baby Jesus’ transition from child to adult in front of your eyes. You will feel happy, sad, proud, disappointed, love, rejection, calm, scared, lost, free, worried, excited, relieved….you name it, you will feel it!
This launch is similar to a rocket launch; years and years are spent building the launch pad to make sure every part of that base is ready for take off and just as much time spent training for what will happen during and after the launch. And then launch time comes, everyone is ready, the launch pad is solid and well built, everyone involved has been working so hard to get to this day and with the push of a button…take off….everyone holding their breath, hoping all the years of hard work and preparation pay off for that rocket to arrive smoothly and safely to its destination without major incident. You see, launch an adult child into the world is so very similar. You do all of the prep work, you prepare that foundation for them to launch, you train for endless hours as to what to do in the real world and then you have to push the button, you have to let that rocket, your child, launch.
I am still trying to wrap my head around it, I am not sure how I feel most days but it happened this year; my baby boy launched. It is still so strange to think of Alex, my big blue eyed baby boy, my super busy toddler who climbed EVERYTHING, my little (and then big) hockey player, my boy obsessed with construction vehicles and who loved all things fishing is now an adult. It is so so strange but here he is, adulting his butt off and I have to sit back and try not to mom my butt off on his adultness!
So for my own selfish purposes, I decided the best way to deal would be to share the top 5 things this week that I was not prepared for when launching:
1) You will miss weird things.
You will miss things you never thought you would miss. You will miss the smell of them just being in the house (yes, even those disgusting boy smells….hockey gear is the worst!). You will miss the piles of laundry that one child can create (seriously though, it still amazes me how much laundry one child can produce). You will miss the side hugs, the messy bathroom (again boys are gross), the random eye rolls, sitting on the couch with them, the TV shows they watch, the sound of them walking around, their grumbling voice in the morning when you are pushing them out the door to go to school. You will buy cereal at the grocery store that no one else eats but them and then realize you all of a sudden have a stock pile of cereal that no one is eating. You will make enough food for them every single time you cook even though you know they will not be there for dinner. You will miss driving them around (I know it is crazy when you’re in the middle of it all but I promise, you will miss it and all of the car conversations you have!) All of it, good and bad, you will have moments when you realize that your life is very different now that they have launched and you miss them, all of them, yet you will be very thankful for your time with them.
2) Parenting an adult child might be harder than parenting a child child.
Letting your child adult is so so hard. Watching them fail, falter, make mistakes, letting them make decisions without your influence….it is all hard. Honestly, I am surprised I have not bit completely through my tongue! But you have to trust that you have done your job and now your role as mom (or dad) has changed. Your job now is to guide, love, and support them through adulting, but we no longer get to be the boss of them! It is weird! I liked being the boss 🙂 We have to sit back and trust that in the back of their mind somewhere they are thinking ‘would my parents be ok with this decision?’ or ‘how would my parents make this decision?’. We have to hope that all of our hard work has paid off and that they will become respectful, kind, loving young adults who can make responsible decisions. We have to pray for them that they do not make a decision that is so bad that it affects them negatively for the rest of their lives but that they know it is ok to make mistakes, fail and fall and they know that they always have us here to talk to. We lay awake at night not because our babies are up crying or not sleeping but because we are worried about them. This part of parenting, the letting go part, is really really hard. I was not prepared.
3) The quality of time becomes way more important than the quantity of time.
I love every time Alex sends me a text, randomly stops by, requests homemade chocolate chip cookies, or comes for dinner. Last week in my blog I talked about family dinners and oh my word, I never knew that they would become so meaningful. We have always had them and maybe I am guilty of taking them a for granted or maybe they just were not as enjoyable because let’s face it, dinner table with little kids can be a bit (ok a lot) stressful!! Now, once they start adulting, they all sit there and actually eat their food without lying under the table or crying about the food on their plates and they can have actual, normal volume conversations! I try to not be that crazy mom asking a thousand questions about what has happened over the past few days since we last talked but it is hard. I want to squeeze him up and be obnoxious but hold back, I reel it in and play it cool….I just realize that although my time with him is way less than what it used to be, I still have it, I am so grateful for this, so I will take a quality dinner date or a silly text or phone call any day, any time….I will enjoy every second of it, I will be thankful for every moment we have together, life is too short!
4) You get to have actual adult conversations!
It is so cool you guys, real conversations and they actually understand you, they get it! You can talk about money, politics, bills, people, movies, just random life stuff and they get it, they have intelligent responses, they carry on actual conversations and they understand why things matter to adults! It is the absolute best part, it is fun, take in every moment and don’t’ forget #3, it is quality not quantity!
5) They start saying ‘I love you’ to you again.
There is a period of time, the tween through the teenage years where they just kind of stop. They may not stop saying it completely but the passion behind it, the meaning behind it, is not like it was when they were 4 and looked up at you with those big eyes and said “I love you mommy’. It changes as they navigate tween and teenhood. They say other things, like why are you so mean (which translates into thanks for loving me mom!) or they say ‘love you’ halfheartedly because they think they should. Once they launch, they reach this point when they realize, crap, I love and need my parents, I better tell them. When they say ‘I love you’ to you from the heart again, like that 4 year old or they give you a big giant hug that lasts a little longer than it has in years and you can tell it is a ‘I just really need my mommy’ kind of hug….it will melt you. Be prepared, you will be a puddle but you have to stay strong until they walk out the door for fear that your emotional disaster might scare them away!! I am just warning you it happens…you can prepare all you want, you won’t be ready…just a fair warning!
Thank you for taking a few minutes out of your day to read and scroll through the picture overload. I am hoping, through my recent emotional roller coaster, I can at least prepare you for what’s ahead and encourage you that you are not at all alone! When it happens and you need someone, please call me, I will come with a Launch Emergency Kit…it includes coffee, wine, tissues, prayer, and salty/crunchy/chocolaty snacks (you will need them all) and we can cry and laugh together! Here is the thing, remember you made it, they made it, you successfully raised your baby into an adult and with any luck, maybe just maybe, they will make this world a better place because of you 🙂
I have to do this all over again next year when I launch Andie into the adult world so I figure if I write my emotions down now and read this next year to try to prepare….wait, who am I kidding, I will still be a mess so someone please bring the Launch Emergency Kit…I will need it!!!
We only have one today, let’s choose happy and enjoy it!
Enjoy Today ~ Choose Happy 🙂