Saturday, February 9, 2008

Keeper of the Keys

I seem to be a little chatty lately.

What will I do when my children are a touch older and I can no longer control them and their little worlds? As they grow up, they will be able to make their own decisions and I will have no say, or at least less say. For example, soon they will be too big for baby gates. They will be able to open them on their own (the boy already can). Then, I will not be able to keep them in their room while I catch a few extra winks. They will wake up and go downstairs on their own. Everything in the house will be fair game. They will be able to get to all the snacks/candy that I currently hide from them.

Suddenly there will be more battles of the will than just the "I want more juice" battles. It will be "I want ice cream/candy/chocolate/soda/everything-else-that-you-and-daddy-keep-for-yourselves" battles. Bedtime will no longer be the simple read/pray/sing/tuck; it will become "I'm not ready to go yet."

I will have to have more rational responses than just, "because I said so" or "because I'm the Mama." I will have to be more responsible about what I bring into the house. I will have to be more creative with my hiding places.

Parenting will be harder as they grow older, not easier with experience. As if it's not hard already. They will develop more personality, not less. And that's a good thing, right? I don't want to raise little robots who always do exactly what they are told without question. I want them to grow up to be free-thinking adults who can function independently of me, or anyone else.

I love my children. I love them so much that the thought of being without them makes me ill. It's just I never got to thinking about them as 6 year olds or 12 year olds or 16 year olds. I've been thinking about myself (and other people I knew) at various ages. I suddenly have a new appreciation for my own parents. I was not a horrible child. I didn't get into much trouble. But I know what is out there. I just know that good intentions from parents do not stop children from making poor choices. My life could have turned out very differently if I had made any one decision differently. That is what is the most frightening thing of all. One thing. One choice. One misstep. I don't want my children to face the same chances/dangers I did, but how else would they grow?

1 comment:

Laura said...

I am at the 12 year old stage and it is scary beyond all belief. I worry constantly about her and what she is facing. From bullies at school to being offered cigarettes. It's also a very proud age as well, when you actually get to see them put to use all the things you have show/told them. I have witnessed such strength from my daughter that I never would have thought. From walking into a room of strangers with her head held high, to preparing her own meals. I keep thinking that I am prepared for whats around the corner, but in reality I am like a scared little child inside.