The Season of Parenthood: It’ll Never Be “Over”

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The parental role never really comes to an end. They’ll always be your babies and you’ll always be Mom or Dad.

So today I was helping my oldest finalize his housing plans for college.

My middle son is trying to learn how to drive. (And I’m trying to learn how not to instill therapy in his future.)

My youngest just finished his high school course plan for the next four years.

Katie and I are swiftly rounding the bend to becoming empty nesters. There is a new season of parenthood in clear sight.

These are the years I have planned for!! I have been waiting for my boys to be teenagers forever, it feels like. I was so excited for the day where I didn’t have to cut someone else’s food, blow someone else’s nose, or wipe someone else’s butt! I could have a REAL conversation with them, know what they meant, and respond.

Truth? Even with teens, that still doesn’t happen on some days…but it’s better than playing twenty questions while the kid is screaming like a hyena in a blender.  “What do you want, baby?  Water?  Cracker?  Binky?  Barney?”    **please, God, if you ever loved me – not Barney! **

Here’s some more unadulterated honesty. From the second Katie and I married, I also started planning our retirement. (Unfortunately, not financially…. more like ‘dreaming’ than planning.)  So after five years of marriage, when we found ourselves unexpectedly pregnant (all our babies were birth control babies – tell your children), I started thinking about how old I was going to be when they got out of the house. Right then and there it was determined, “we have three years to finish this, sweetheart, because I want all these kids out of our house by the time I’m 50.” Thankfully, because of the unreliability of birth control and the certain reliability of passion, we made it!

So while I’ve enjoyed this season of “teendom” with our kids, in the back of my mind I’ve always seen the end in sight. The day when the kids are out of the house and we can stop being parents. No more filling out permission slips. No more driving lessons. No more questions about how to graduate with honors. We get to retire from parenting.

So tremendously naïve!! You’ve heard the adage ‘it ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings’? In parenthood, SHE NEVER SINGS!!

I didn’t know that!!

I had a misconception about parenting. Both of my parents passed away before I was 20. So I truly didn’t understand that the parental role never really comes to an end. It may no longer be day to day – but there are still loans to co-sign, future life partners to approve, grandbabies to watch….my parents were gone before I hit that stage of life. I had no idea our job extended beyond the college years.

So on those days when you especially love your kids, take hope that they’ll always be your babies and you’ll always be Mom or Dad.  And on days that are ‘challenging’, you can rest in the assurance that your role will change as everyone gets older.

I’m reminded of these Bible verses…maybe they’ll help you, too – no matter what season of life everyone’s in….

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven…Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.  

Ecclesiastes 3.1,11

Written by: Darren Sutton

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