Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kids Growing Up - WHAT?!?!?

Well, O.K., it’s time to approach everybody for some help! That’s right, I’m looking for some advice! What’s the problem, you might be asking? Well, my14-year-old 8th grade daughter is about to leave for a week long trip with her school to Washington D.C.

This is the same 14-year-old girl that I used to have to rock to sleep EVERY SINGLE NIGHT AT 3:00 A.M. during the first year of her life because she needed me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She was also the little girl who needed my help to learn to ride her bike, learn the weekly enjoyment of pizza and a Slurpee from 7-11, learn the proper driving skills in her Barbie car, learn the finer points of baseball while watching a Tigers’ game on TV with me, learn to play the clarinet so that she could earn a1st division rating at this year’s Solo and Ensemble Band festival, and, well, you get the idea!!

It’s not so much the fact that she’ll be gone for a week. I can deal with that, as I know that she’ll be home next Saturday, whereupon we will immediately embark on a pizza/Slurpee journey! It’s not even so much the fact that she’s going to live for nearly a week without any direct help from me. No, I can deal with that, too (for one week, that is). I’ll even find something else to do at 6:00 a.m. each day this week (that’s the time that I usually wake her up with a cheerful hello and some sort of bad joke!!).

The problem is this: It’s that I can see the beginning of the end of life with my daughter in our house. People with older children have told me that kids actually grow up, become adults, move out, get married, have kids, and lead totally independent lives from their dads! Perhaps, those people were just teasing me. But, if all that they said is true, please pass along some advice!!

So, if you have older kids, how have you dealt with all of the above? Please pass along your comments for all to see, as your advice can be helpful to other parents, as well. As for my two boys (ages 8 and 11), I think that we just might have Slurpees and pizza every day this week! Even though my wife strongly discourages the consumption of pizza and Slurpees in our family, I have a feeling that she just might go for it this week!

And finally, I finished my inaugural basketball coaching season this past weekend as the assistant coach, as our team scored a thrilling 35-33 victory! The victory must have been the work of the head coach and the players, because the assistant coach was thinking about a very special 14-year-old girl who was sitting in the bleachers with her mom and her little brother .........................

So, parents, as exhausting and infuriating as it can sometimes be, have you thought about the times in the future when your kids will no longer live with you or even need your sage advice and wisdom on an hourly basis? The day is coming sooner than you think! So, use your time now to continue to raise your kids in the manner that you believe is best. There is a limited window of opportunity for you to help your kids find their way. Because one day, they just might leave for a week .... and discover that they can live without you ... OUCH!

To the parents who have experienced kids leaving the nest, how have you coped? Was it as difficult as it appears to be? Please pass along advice for everybody! Thanks!

Paul W. Reeves

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