The amazing story of two 40-something women on the path to matrimonial bliss

It just keeps getting better...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

It's Meant to be an Adventure

Many of you may know that Teri and I are parents to a combined 6 young adults, a few of you know that we have actually embarked on a journey to add more to our family.  Now, likely, most of you are wondering why?

Our kids are attached to us in a variety of ways and while we claim, fuss, and are deeply committed to all of them, we accept that they all have different feelings and levels of attachment to us.  They all have other parents or parental figures with whom we have had to come to terms with sharing.  Each of our kids (ages: 18, 20, 21, 22, 22, 26) is unique and each one has expanded our lives, our understanding of ourselves, and our capacity for love, compassion and commitment in different ways.  We're not going to lie--it hasn't always been easy! They take us in directions we never imagined.

I don't care what anyone says disparagingly about "kids today," I know that our kids get a great deal of pressure from multiple directions to go to college, get good jobs, settle down, shape up and grow up. They are wrestling with all the same identity, education, economic and personal challenges that that those of who are older maneuver and Teri and I figure the last thing they need is two more people trying to squeeze them into a "performance box." Instead, we try to remind them that life is not a race; they only have to be themselves and please themselves; mistakes and missteps happen; they can still be scared or anxious and do what they need to do; there are always options; and we are going to be here no matter what.

We are not really achievement-oriented people.  Life is about effort, involvement, showing up and the sheer adventure of living in this world, as far as we are concerned. We are well aware that we have made our own mistakes, have flaws and foibles but it isn't our kids' jobs to augment anything we might or might not have done.  They don't owe us anything--we are the grown-ups who have a life long responsibility to them.

Don't get me wrong--we are incredibly proud of each and every one of our kids--they are loving, compassionate, and intelligent.  They have things they want to do, places they want go, and hopes, dreams and challenges of their own. We appreciate whatever role they might let us fill and try to check ourselves from overstepping boundaries.  After all, we really do have absolute confidence that they can and will run their lives just fine.  So, with all this parental pride and fabulously functional young adults, why on earth would we be open to more?

For Teri and I, the question has really been: Why not? It is a little bit selfish--we would not be who we are without these incredible learning partners.  Our understanding of "personal growth" is not necessarily centered around self-help books and the constant self-absorbed focus on personal work, but what we can do, share, give back and how little we can actually think about ourselves.  It has taken both of us twenty years to come to terms with who we are as parents, not who we are not and we have the battle scars to show for it.  We figure if the universe allows, we've still got a bit left to give--we haven't left it all on the court yet...

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