My theory is that whatever stage a family is currently in, it is often the phase that feels the hardest as parents - we look back at previous stages with fondness, easily forgetting the difficulties, only viewing the past through a sentimental lens. We can look forward to the future stages of development of our children with the hope and anticipation of smooth sailing when they are bigger or when a child acquires whatever skill might be next that it will make our life as a parent easier. We imagine that when the stage we are in passes, everything will be easier and better because... (fill in the blank). The phase of parenting we are in at the moment; with a ever growing, ever changing family can feel as if it is the most difficult, whether it is weaning a reluctant little one, potty training, learning to read, counseling a teen through a friendship crisis or encouraging a young adult through college applications and course work.
Here in our home, we have launched three amazing young adults into the world. We are proud of each of them. We are thrilled that they are all doing well and we also miss the daily interactions. If you aren't this far along on the journey - you might imagine that this is a phase comes with less worry and anxiety. Once you make it this far there isn't much to struggle with or complain about. We're done, it's all good - until....
Until the college kid comes home, just a few days before Christmas to share the virus that's been circulating on campus, exposing the rest of the family for the holidays. Or another, comes home with huge doubts about their chosen course of study. Or another, on the easier side, joins the family celebration still needing assistance with a ride to the mall, a haircut and work done on their vehicle. It is all still a labor of love and our presence as parents (recognized or not) continues to be an important aspect of supporting our offspring and each other through another phase of individual and family growth. We are still all in - deep.
Every phase of family life has it's joys and challenges, every year has it's change of seasons, accomplishments and setbacks, every decade has it's holding on, letting go and new adventures.
"To everything turn turn turn there is a season and a purpose under heaven and a time to every purpose under heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1
Happy New Year!
2020 - here we come!