These kids

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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Homebase in Livingston, MT »
  • Nicola

    Nicola on July 22, 2016, 5:26 p.m.

    I am so grateful you write so honestly about all this, Renee, because I am a few steps behind you and I feel it too. I view life through a similar lens and know the emotions of this coming time are going to be raw, hard work for me to process. I feel it already. Once my oldest hit double digits, life hit fast forward. The photo of you and your kids made me smile, big and wide, as did the photo of two of your kids and the little one climbing the fence. Weren't yours just that small, climbing fences? Mine were too. Lots of love.


  • Beth

    Beth on July 22, 2016, 9:41 p.m.

    You have put into words what I have been feeling. 

    The truth of this: "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." brings tears to my eyes. Sniff.


  • Alaina

    Alaina on July 23, 2016, 4:08 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing. I always find it interesting to read what you say about your relationship with your children, since my oldest is a few years younger than your youngest. I'm beginning to struggle a bit with the changes I am already seeing in my oldest. Mainly how important friends have started becoming vs. time with family.  I'm glad you're getting to enjoy this time! 


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