Many of you have already experienced it when a child moves out. I also experienced it six years ago for the first time. Now the next move-out is coming up these days. I think I can speak for most of you when I say that we are proud when our children take on the challenge and responsibility for their own lives and take the step into their own independent future.
I definitely feel no resistance in this process. I am a mother who supports her children in believing in themselves and in their choices. I want them to explore life and themselves in their lives. I also try to convey that even if they stumble and fall, it is a part of their personal development and not a failure. They should never be afraid to try something new and thus stretch their lives and abilities as far as they can. But still, it’s bittersweet. Memories come flooding back. The happy ones and the ones that still haunt you when you know, in hindsight, you could have done so much better. Did I enjoy and appreciate my time with them enough? Did I do enough with and for them? Why couldn’t I be more patient? Did my behavior leave something incriminating? Questions and mixed emotions play tag.
What I have learned over the last 25 years with my children is that it is only to a limited extent the parents who teach their children “life”. It is more of an interplay, as both grow and learn from each other. I believe my children have taught me more about life than I could have ever taught them. They have shown me who I am. They have mirrored my actions, habits, and behaviors to me. Because of me trying to protect them and at the same time preparing them for standing on their own feet, they made me see life in new ways.
Most of all, It was my middle one, who is now moving out, who provided me with the pivotal moments to change my behavior. He was able to do this because he naturally refused to be bent. He has always had his own priorities, so he couldn’t understand why certain things were so important to me. This confused and unsettled him a lot. Although I had noticed it before, I pushed it aside. I remember one incident when this 7-year-old boy told me this in childlike honesty and also desperation. That was the moment I woke up, eventually. The love for my child broke the wall of my acquired behavior. I saw that I was hurting him in the same way that I was becoming. I didn’t want him to have to struggle with the same demons to break out of his own maze as I had to. This boy played a very important role in my personal breakthrough process.
I think even the best parents question themselves. Nevertheless, we are all human beings – work in progress. We are here to learn, and we learn from each other. We do our best to do what we think is best in the current moment. In hindsight, we always know better. When it comes to our children, we will do many things poorly and many things very well. Both are just subjective judgments. After all, what you think you did wrong may be the most important thing they grow from and what keeps them from greater harm. In the end, all we can do is our best and hope it was good enough.
Thank you for letting me share my thoughts. I would love to know what you were thinking and feeling when your children moved out.
In Love and Light