OP-ED: Talking About Parenting: Watching as your children turn into young adults
You know how they say your kids will grow up in the blink of an eye? I used to completely disregard that statement, but it’s very true.
Our oldest will turn 18 this year and kiddo #2 will turn 16.
That’s difficult for me to wrap my head around. Why? Because even though I am 40, I think of myself as much younger than that. I feel like I am still in my late 20s, which is not a bad thing.
I still see my kids as being little. The crazy fact is that Christi and I started dating 23 years ago when we were 16. I know that relationships at that age aren’t generally destined for marriage, but it is just crazy to think that they are at that same age.
While watching them growing up has been rough at times, there is also so much joy in it. What I love most is watching who they develop into as teens and young adults. College wise-my course of study was sociology and I am a fervent believer that our experiences shape who we are, however, I would be remiss to think that it accounts for everything. Prime example? My oldest.
While Jackson and I have differing opinions on pretty much everything (which is a requirement for a teen, I believe), we both have the amazing trait of thinking we are right…all the time. We both stand completely firm in our beliefs and do not waver. This can be a good thing to be sure, but when you are trying to navigate the parent-child, teen-year relationship it pretty much always spells trouble.
I will be the first to admit I am stubborn and reaching that self-realization has gotten easier over the years.
The challenge comes, when in a discussion over doing dishes or homework, that I am in fact arguing with myself. Again, we have very different views on things, but the dedicated fervor is definitely present. I try, and fail most times, to remember how I felt at that age. My hope is that Jackson, at some point in his life, will know that everything I did or say was tied to the person I hope he would become.
However, at the end of the day, I have to accept, albeit begrudgingly, that Jackson will turn out to be the person that he wants to be. I just have to hope that the values we have instilled in him as he has grown form a firm foundation for who he is as an adult.
The same applies to the rest of my kiddos. I love seeing who they are becoming.
Rosie is the kindest soul you will ever meet. She works so hard to attain the goals she sets for herself. Even though ‘dad’ isn’t a go-to confidante at this stage in her life, I know she knows that I would drop everything to help her with whatever she needs.
Thayer is turning into quite the comedian and artist. His ability to formulate and execute a witty retort is second to none.
Summer is my talker and loves to engage in conversation. She has the sweetest disposition and loves one-on-one time. While in a family of six kids that is a challenge, I do try to make it happen often.
Stryker is a charmer and handsome little boy whose athletic ability astounds. While he is quick to sharing his temper, he is also quick to make up. If we could work on his listening ability that would be a good thing.
Finally, Kayden. Our baby that we didn’t know we needed. He has rebounded so well since becoming a part of our family. He is smart and funny. When he knows he is about to get in trouble, he offers a quick ‘I love you Mom/Dad’ to try to turn the tide. His smile will melt your heart.
Before I move on, like we do when we load up in the car, I have to count to make sure I didn’t leave any of the kids out of this article. I would never hear the end of that.
Life goes on. It’s the truth. It’s what we do in that time that makes life worth living.
We will have heartaches. We will have strife. We will fail.
On the flip side, we will laugh. We will have fun. We will love. In all of this, the most important thing to remember is to live. Don’t get caught up in the drama that will definitely arise in life. Remember what’s important and hold firmly to that. It’s not always easy, but it’s so worth it.
Chris Kovatch is a resident of Orange County. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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