There are two very big issues that are smacking my reality right now as to why this cannot be a good thing. One thing that happens is: They grow up. These little ones that we spent so much time loving and caring for, teaching, leading and guiding are one day going to turn 18. Not that we will no longer be their mothers, but they will not need us nearly to the extent that they once did. I realized from a very young age the reality is, as parents, from the point of birth we are preparing our children to become independent adults.
We teach them to walk, talk, feed themselves and potty. Then we teach them to write their names, fill out checks, make purchases and pay bills. We teach them responsibility through getting their homework done on time and putting their bicycles away when they are done riding them. It is good that we teach them to be independent. Upon creating the earth God instructed Adam to care for his family, care for creation and not be dependent on any one person for his livelihood. So it seems in following our creator we should be promoting independence in our children.
The Bible also instructs us to leave our parents and cleave to our spouse. Knowing this commandment we should be on a constant quest to prepare our children to be responsible adults, spouses and parents. The reality of this is; although I would love to have my children around forever, I do not want them to be dependent on me. Thus if my sole reason for living is my children once they marry, parent and or age out of my care, do I still have a reason for living?
I would hope that before such a time I find some other reasons to live so that I am not tempted to give up on life and not enjoy my children as the strong independent adults I have assisted in forming. I also hear a lot about the blessings and how enjoyable grandchildren are. I would hate to loose out on the many blessings God provides for parents of adult children by giving up on life soon after they leave the nest.
The other less obvious reason for not having our children be our sole reason for living is we may out live them. I realize this is a taboo subject and we would like to think this will never happen to us but it happens around us daily. There is nothing we can do to prevent it. Obviously if a parent could prevent out living a child they would do everything in their power to do so. I once saw a saying once, "If I had to choose breathing or loving you I would take my last breath loving you." This is so true for mothers. We would do absolutely anything for our children. We have an innate desire to keep our children safe from birth to forever. The reality is this is not reality. There is no way to protect our children forever.
This is one truth that I wish I didn't know anything about thus would not think to mention it in a blog like this, but in my world this is my truth. God saw fit for me to out live my oldest child. The irony of this situation is I lived for this child for a long time. He had some special needs and I did everything in my power to insure that he was advocated for and then learned to advocate for himself. I did my very best to make sure he was on a level playing field as his peers. There were sometimes things we could not always provide, but these things were never hindrances to his well-being.
I have always been blessed to have an amazingly supportive husband so that we could attempt to meet all the needs of each of our children. A lot of times it would be one parent with our oldest and the other parent with our other three children. This was our world and we functioned well in it. This reality came crashing down, when our oldest son was killed, we were devastated to say the least. Had my sole reason for living been this one child I would feel very worthless and without reason to live now.
I can honestly say that I do struggle with the world of worthlessness at times. I did, for a very long time, find my entire self worth in caring for my children. I found my full identity in being a wife and a mom. I will always be a wife and mom and can find great pleasure in this. I cannot however, find my full worth in this identity because changes in the structure of things occur. Sometimes these changes sneak up on us and sometimes they hit us square in the nose. Nonetheless, the point remains, if our entire worth is wrapped up in being a mom when one of these two situations occur it will flatten us.
The reason I believe I am so passionate about this topic is both of these situations happened to me simultaneously. I had a child pass away and another leave for college within months of each other. We would like to think both happen with no warning, but that is not the case. Although, college years or adulthood seems to sneak up, we know the ages of our children and where they are in life. We may not want to readily accept it, but adulthood doesn't really sneak up. We need to be responsible parents and prepare ourselves for the departure of our children or their "leave and cleave" as much as we prepare them.
The other situation, in fact, may sneak up on us. We need to be proactive as parents to not find our full self worth in our children knowing that anything is possible. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. My grandmother would say, "Don't put all of your eggs in one basket." This is a hard concept to face when we are in the thick of parenting. We must keep focused on the true goal which is preparing them to be successful independent adults. We need to find our self worth in God alone not in the jobs He has blessed us with here on this earth. With our sole focus being on the fact that, "This is not the end." "We are not home yet."