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When Does Parenting End?

When I was a young mother...oh so long ago, I mistakenly thought that motherhood was like a real job, when after years of faithful service, I would be lauded by my colleagues, given a gold watch or necklace as a token of appreciation, and then retire... to live out my days in peaceful bliss. No worries. Hakuna Matata.

HAH - how deluded I was!

Now, don't get me wrong, I loved mothering my babies. I took great pride in my children's accomplishments. I enjoyed spending time with them. I took my responsibilities for loving and nurturing them very seriously. I suffered with them when they were hurting. I was overjoyed for them when they were happy. I did my best to make them feel safe, to give them confidence in themselves, to make sure that they knew that they were special, and that they were loved unconditionally. I prayed for their safety and well being. I prayed for guidance. I prayed a lot!

My job was 24/7, 365 days a year - for years. My oldest was 16 when the youngest was born. Then, when our baby was 11, we adopted a 9 year-old special needs child. At the age of 46, I had been a mother for 27 years. I had 10 children and 7 grandchildren. I was tired! I wondered when I would be granted a reprieve -- a time when I would no longer have to worry about my kids, when I would have the burdens of motherhood lifted from me, when I would get to simply enjoy the fruits of my labors.

I envisioned spending hours alone with my husband... puttering around the house, snuggling together watching a movie, eating out at elegant restaurants. We would plant a garden, travel...spend time visiting with children, grandchildren, and friends. All would be right with the world.

What I didn't understand was that I would never be released from the job...that when my children grew up, I would just be trading little hurts and worries for huge hurts and worries. My children no longer need help with skinned knees and English homework. Now, I have to comfort those who are dealing with divorce, addiction, mental illness, and job losses. I can't kiss these kinds of boo-boos to make the pain go away. I watch as some of my children struggle with the consequences of foolish and dangerous mistakes. My heart aches for them, yet I've also experienced the most incredible joys:

Seeing the educational and job accomplishments of my children. Rejoicing at weddings. Celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. Witnessing the miracle of birth, when new grand children come into the world. Rejoicing when those who have strayed away, come back into the fold.

I've come to realize that parenting never ends, it just changes like the seasons. I think I'll keep my job, and keep on praying!


Libby is a full time Domestic CEO. She has been happily married for 36 years; is the mother of 10 grown children; grandmothers 14 growing children; is owned by 2 dogs. Ramblings of her thoughts can be found at: Neas Nuttiness...Put our family together and we're just a few nuts short of a party mix! Her dogs occasionally post their thoughts at: A Tail Of 2 Doggies

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