The Next Generation..

Nope, not talking about Star Trek in case that is what you were thinking this is about.  I have been in the midst of assisting my niece with her wedding which will happen in a couple of weeks.  This weekend I shall be attending another family wedding (second cousin).  Next year will be an exciting time as well as we have two family weddings that will be full of nervousness and adventure as The Debater and The Artist shall have their much awaited nuptuals in the spring…April to be exact.  Then The Wiz and The Baker shall be enjoying their fall wedding in October.  Yesterday, on a long drive home from my niece’s place, I thought about all these beautiful youngsters (ahem…adults) and what the Next Generation is going to be like.

In the eyes of parents, it doesn’t matter how old your child is, that child is always about 5-7 years old in your eyes.  From birth, you watch them, you teach them, you correct them, you encourage them, you praise them, you give them grief and they give you grief back.  It’s the way of the world with parents and children.  Even once they have their own kids, you watch them and encourage them in their parenting and you are so proud as you observe the blossoming growth of your grandchildren.  You watch them nurturing their children, teaching and educating them and having that beaming pride look when their youngsters do something and achieve something on their own. 

This weekend we were watching The Princess and Little Kennie run around and laugh and giggle.  Kennie is going to be two years old in a couple of weeks.  We have noticed over the last little while that, besides imitating and mimicking what we say, she has learned how to vary intonation in her wording.  She came up to a little statue that we have and said, “Hi Princess.”  Where did she come up with that?  Yes, Little Kennie is growing up and getting an identity of her own.

As parents, we get annoyed with OUR parents when they treat us as if we don’t know things.  We will try to do something and suddenly we are doing it wrong.  We are adults with lives of our own and children of our own.  I am now beginning to understand this challenge. Your kids are always your kids no matter how old they are.  If they run into hardships you want to jump in and put a bandage on it by helping out in some way.  You want them to be healthy and happy and you would give your own life to make sure that they would never have to suffer. 

I realize now that sitting back and watching is something that, as a parent, is of one the hardest things to do.  Before I jump in with “the answer” I think about how I would feel if FIL or one of my parents came and pointed out if I was doing something wrong or instructing me on what would be better.  Would I appreciate the interruption and the advice or would I just wish that they let me do things on my own?  Yes, that is how I am learning to become a better parent. 

Being a parent of small, crying babies, older people would always say, “Oh, this is easy, wait until they are older.”  What?  At least then you would be able to sleep all night right?  Wrong…you hit the teenage years and oh my…you just wish that you could jump ahead 5 years and get over that hump in their lives.  Dealing with their right to independent lives while you struggle to keep order and sensibility in their lives.  AAAAGHHH!  You sleep even less then as they are going out with friends and coming home at two in the morning.  You actually get even less sleep than you did when they were newborns.  Really, if you survive that you can survive anything right?  Well, then they become adults…in years only.  They will always be your children.  Now you have to learn patience and have them learn adult things on their own.  Sure, you will be there when they need you, but sometimes the adult growth pains are even harder to watch than the bumps and scratches they got as kids.  There is no magic bandage or salve to fix some things and all you can do is sit back, watch, and hope that things you taught them will help them figure out the trivia of adult life.  If you are really lucky, you can actually sleep and not worry too much about it.

Yes, this may seem like a sad or depressing topic, but it is actually quite heartwarming in my mind.  I have learned much about being a parent of adults (oops…almost said adult children).  There is a wonderful sense of happiness and pride when you see how happy they are in their lives.  They live, they laugh, they love.  Sure, there are bumps in the road, but having those bumps makes them appreciate the repaved roads of life that are smooth and wonderfully happy.  The wonderful homes.  The great nights out full of fun.  The family get togethers where everyone laughs about silly things they used to do because, at this age, you can laugh about the silly childhood things that were done.  They are now adults, those were funny stories.

I am so happy and proud to be able to take a deep breath, sit back, and watch our wonderful future society unfold.  We wll have with such amazing new adults in it.  This is the next generation and it looks beautiful.

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