Children and Neverland

By day four of basketball nationals, I was ready to go home. I’d managed only one, short, run and that after a lot of falderal. My daughter’s team had won the first game in the first two days and followed that with losses. The third day, they lost both games. They were set up to play in the actual playoffs in one of the first games at 9 a.m. this morning. I was happy about that as it meant that we could probably head home early. I didn’t mean to jinx things, I was just being realistic.

As it turned out, they played a really aggressive team and ended up tied. Overtime was a tight 2-minutes of very suspenseful playing and my daughter’s team lost by a single point in the last few seconds. I was sorry that the girls lost, but felt very good about how well they’d played. I couldn’t help but secretly relax given that my daughter was now done with summer softball and also, finally, done with basketball. I tried not to think of the fact that her high school sports career would be ramping up imminently.

With a small break and time to think while driving home, I dreamt of time that I could spend independently. I’m a mom. I’m a single mom…free time is an oxymoron. I have none. Still…what might this mean to me. What it ultimately meant to me was driving up to the state college with my son where he’s had an apartment for the last year. So, as I drove home, I knew that not only this Saturday was spoken for by my younger daughter, but that Sunday was spoken for by my son. Then, back to work on Monday.

Every stage of life is transitory. What does that mean for the relationships we have with our kids? I’m in a weird place with my son, where he is now a boomerang kid without the college degree. We’ve agreed that he’ll take a semester off and work, so that he can save up money for school and take care of some personal business at home before venturing off to a more independent life once again. This is not perfect and I get flack from some for not taking a harder line, but I know my kid. I know he needs a few months under my wing to heal, to get to a steady place in his life, and to plan for the future.

My older daughter, by dint of personality and circumstances has become very independent before she’s really ready to want that. She told me recently that she hadn’t wanted to turn 18. Well, she had almost a semester of college, living far from home, before hitting that milestone. I know she doesn’t want to shoulder the mantle of adulthood so soon, but on the other hand, she’s handling it with grit, determination, and a whole lot more grace than I did at that age.

My younger daughter has also taken on a more Peter Pan view of the world since her older siblings left for college. She used to want to do everything that they were doing even though they were five and seven years ahead of her in school. Now, she is happy to live in the moment, to finish middle school and head to high school. She wants those four years of high school to be her life, in the here and now…college and independent living are off on the horizon, so far away that it is a distraction to even think about it now.

So, I have a few more years…maybe eight or ten given the age of my youngest, to be a major presence in my children’s lives. I will relish that even as I try to spread my wings a bit wider and try to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

Find the Joy in the Journey…it is happening in the here and now.




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