They all move out eventually. So…what happens when they come back?
Three years ago, my oldest moved out. She packed her things and with all the piss and vinegar she could muster, she moved on from the comforts of her family home. It was a serious learning moment for both of us. Me, I had to learn to let go. Her, she had to learn how tough it is on her own. Fast forward to the lesson today, what happens when they come back.
It’s not that I’m unhappy with her return, so let’s just clear that up right away. I’m just a little disappointed that she has just turned out too good. Confused? Yeah, I thought so. Here’s the thing, she moved in with her childhood sweetheart and while that may seem oh so cute, it’s just not. Why? Because she grew up. That boy continued as a boy and she grew into a woman. She stayed to help him. She worried about what her leaving would do for him. She stayed a little too long and invested a little too much of what little she had. We’ve all done it, made bad decisions and had to figure out a way out of the outcomes. But now I’m on the other side, the parental one.
It’s difficult to watch. She came back with her dog, two cats and a part-time job. She’s struggling to find a way into her adulthood in a time of economic crisis. She’s trying to find a full-time position in a world full of part-time jobs. I don’t want to help her too much, that’s not really going to help her. I just have to back up a little and remember that she’s not a child anymore. That she doesn’t really fit the sixteen year old curfew. There are rules, but I can’t ground her anymore for not following them. I have to figure out how to parent an adult child in my home. It’s a lot harder than I thought.
So now I just have to sit back and try to fight back the urge to over parent. I have to learn how to guide and not lead. She is my first child, the experimental child, the one that is the learning experience. I just hope that whatever direction she chooses from here leads her to a brighter future. I will try my darndest to just bite my lip and let her go.