July 22, 2016
One of the gifts of this trip is that away from the demands of raising teenagers in our normal milieu (driving the kids to their many social functions and overseeing their education) I can simply appreciate my kids. Have fun with them.
Now that I think about it, it’s not that we’re driving all that much less, it’s just that I get to spend all that time with them. I'm not dropping them off at parties and soccer, instead we're touring Yellowstone and going swimming together. On this trip, these children are mine again.
I just find these people so beautiful, these adult-sized, nearly grown children.
In general I don't post a ton of kid photos on the blog (this trip I've been posting more). This isn't a "these are my kids" blog but today it is.
We've had a good go of it so far in raising teenagers, but it has been a more challenging age than the one previous, the golden years I call them.
I was kind of tired out when we got here. Tired out from the teenager schedule. A little tired out from making space in our home and in our relationships for everyone's growth.
My role, what I feel called to do, is to make a safe space, a welcoming space, a supportive space for relationship. I need to help the kids navigate their relationship with themselves (understanding who they are), facilitate their participation in a religious community that helps them grow closer to God. I pour a ton of creative energies and time into supporting their relationship with learning (as they apply themselves to the hard work of scholar year studies). I help them navigate relationships within our family, with friends and the world-at-large. "Stuff" happens in those contexts, and our home and our relationship with them as parents needs to be the safe place.
This to me is the biggest challenge so far of the teen years: making space for the intense growth of these years. Intense growth that is all about relationships (that is the lens I view the world through) and yet also leads our children to further independence from us. My job is to support and assist the seperation. This is emotionally difficult work for me.
On this trip, I felt like I got a break from this emotionally intense work. We all could just "be", enjoy our own things and enjoy our times together.
One of my summer intentions was to simply enjoy my kids. And that's how it's played out. And I am so grateful.
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