I had a meltdown a few days ago, missing my girls, and the life we used to lead together. It is an interesting place to find oneself, at the end of the active parenting game. No more University graduations, no more formals, no more kitchen, or on the phone meltdowns about getting a paper in on time, while also studying for finals, all while trying to compile a powerful and persuasive resume that will get my girls in the door to hopefully secure that post-secondary, very first adult job.
I’ve officially crossed the finish line of this part of my life, sure other things will come in and occupy that space in my brain and my heart, life partners will be met, engagements will be had (we’ve already married Brianna) and grand-babies will follow. But, there is something profoundly sad, for me anyway, knowing that the childhood years of my three daughters are behind us. It went by so incredibly fast that some days I feel as though I might somehow be residing in an alternate universe. Conversations are no longer focused on what school to attend, what program to study, and what grades are needed to get into the right school to help propel them, hopefully, to the front of a highly competitive career landscape. The bulk of our conversations with all three of our girls, even the two in their late twenties are centered about constantly working toward ensuring their skills are current. That their social media reflects them in a light that they wouldn’t mind a future employer seeing them in, because if you don’t know it now parents, companies do Google us, and our kids need to be taught this from the moment they begin their online profiles. But I won’t get into that here, that’s a blog I’ve actually already written for the Huff Post, that you can find by searching my name.
Instead I now find myself answering panicked phone calls about how many applications are the right amount of applications to submit in one sitting? Our conversations, for the past decade, have been all about whether or not it is best to pursue a career straight out of college or is it wise to “go back in” and beef up the one they already have. In the case of two of our daughters (the eldest and the youngest) they’ve opted to go back for more. Brianna ended up, after getting her honours BA in History and English, going back and training for her passion, which was in makeup artistry. Mikaela, who recently graduated in April of this year, has decided, after a year of many lengthy discussions that she not only has a knack for, but a passion for, law. It took a lot of patient communication to help her get to the place where she felt comfortable admitting that she didn’t want to jump right into a career, that she believes there is more out there for her, if she just goes back to school and gets it.
And this is what we get for always asking them to be truthful with themselves about what they really want their lives to look like. I’ve always used this one on my girls when they were at a cross road in their lives; “If there was no chance you would fail, what is the thing you would want to attempt to become more than anything else in this lifetime?”
I wait for them to answer, sometimes it takes a few hours, a few days, sometimes months. But eventually they come to it, and whenever my girls uncovered it, I would look at them and said; “Well then, go do that.” So friends if you find yourself in the same boat as I am in, with kids on their way out into the world, perhaps home for the summer, feeling anxious about; “what’s next” for them. Try this little parenting hack out and see what they come up with!