Dancing Through the Changing Times

Our eldest child is halfway through his first summer at home after his first year of college. It is the beginning of the end. Move back day is on everyone's calendar. We are dancing an intricate dance that we have not learned the steps for. He never gets to move out of the role of "experimental kid", our firstborn, he must bear the brunt of our parenting inexperience. Man/child, independence/dependence, rules/freedom. The dance changes daily. Sometimes we dance with smiles and even laughter as we trip over each other's feet. Other times there are tears and frustration and pain as all our toes get stomped on. Someone told him that his "real" self is back at college, the person here isn't him anymore. I don't want that to be true, but it probably is. This is preparation for the future, as he works toward his goals of traveling and living all over the world. Where he was born and raised will not be his home.

Our second born is home after three weeks of back-to-back activity. Church youth trip, Boy Scout camp, Junior Counselor at camp. Final pool dive for his Scuba Diving class next week, Open Water Dives scheduled for the week after. Ready to start his Junior year of high school, it is becoming real to all of us that the decisions he makes now will have a significant impact on his future. He starts the tentative dance of independence with us. We push, he pulls back. He doesn't want to hold our hands for this dance, he'd prefer a "line dance", but it doesn't work that way. I do not like this tune, I know where it leads, but somehow we will learn.

Our third child, and only daughter, has leapt from little girl to young lady. Finishing 6th grade has solidly separated her from the elementary years. She moves a bit more confidently, stands a little straighter, and is comfortable in her own skin. Though not quite 13, she deals with the normal teenage insecurities that rise to the surface from time to time. She and I dance the peculiar dance of mother/daughter tension (did you see the movie Brave?) with varying degrees of success. We try to dance with our eyes wide open so that we can find our way with minimal damage inflicted on each other.

Part of me does not like all of this dancing. I am not coordinated enough, not savvy enough to do it well, it does not come naturally. But if I do not try to learn, if I do not practice, then there will be no future dancing with my children. No weaving of our lives through the intricacies of aging.

There will always be new dances to learn. Therefore, I will learn these steps to the best of my ability, and pray it is good enough to keep the dancing going.

Labels: , , ,