Monday, July 17, 2017

That first time your relationship with your parents changed

My son has had a lot of milestones: First crawl, first tooth, first steps, first day of school, first fall from his bike, first lost tooth...and he probably won't remember most of them. But that's OK, because he has a whole other set of milestones coming his way. Some are major (first time driving, first day of high school, first significant other) and lots of his firsts I will never know about. But there is one big first that is likely to hit both of us - probably before we are ready: The first time our relationship changes.

For a lot of teens, the first time your relationship with your parents change is in college, as captured here in this thoughtful, four-year view. For those who don't go to college, it might be when they first move out, but it is usually the same theme: Your relationship with your parents changes when you show them you can take care of yourself (more or less) independently.

But what the writer of that piece may not realize yet is that your relationship with your parents continues to change. As an adult, I have a healthy, ever-evolving relationship with my wonderful Mother. I know that in her heart, I will forever be her baby girl (and that makes me happy), but she and I have traveled a long road to move toward mutual respect, friendship and beyond. She will forever be my teacher, but our conversations long ago changed from the workbooks she would give me to practice writing skills to how we can figure things out on our blogs together.

And I recognize that the first step in that journey happened for me when I went to college - I started becoming more than just a daughter and she became more than just my Mother.

I can only write about this with the wisdom of someone who is still in the middle of the journey, but the idea of me being on the other side of this relationship is a little daunting. How am I supposed to look at my son one day and recognize him as an independent guy who can take care of himself when a part of me will forever look at him as the little boy who leaned across the table a few days ago to tell me that he was pretty sure he had been wearing his undies inside out and backwards all day but they felt OK.

This growing up thing never ends, does it? I hope I have a long time on this journey - both with my Mom and my son. I am going to need all the time I can get to get it right.

What is the hardest part about being a grown-up? Tell me in the comments.

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