The laundry still needs to be done, the dishes are still dirty, and the floor has a thin layer of dog fur and needs to be swept. The clutter is still there; Papers, books and toys still crowd the counters but instead of scribbled- crayon pictures, Goodnight Moon, ponies, Barbies and legos, there is math homework, Philosophy books and i-pods. I have been picking up, washing and folding for my family for 19 years now. It is a sameness that brings me comfort; it gives my hands something to do when my mind is racing with thoughts.
There is an over abundance of time now. The girls no longer demand my attention the way they once did. Laura is in her 2nd year of High School and Emily her second year of College. The three of us share a unique relationship; born out of a bad marriage, looming divorce and the daily struggles of living. We have drawn close to one another. I, however, have become a footnote in their busy lives – as well I should be. Their friends, school work and activities demand a great deal of their consideration.
My role has changed and I find myself struggling to figure out how best to fulfill it. My physical job of parenting has ended. I no longer chase after them, help them dress, brush their hair, or clean their cherubic faces. Mothering has become more of a mental exercise and I worry that I am an effective guide on their journey towards adulthood. I do the best I can when it comes to advising, sharing and informing and hope that my best will be enough to help them make decisions that they can live with.
Parenting at this stage has become a real life version of the childhood game we used to play. “Mom, do you think this is a good choice?” “Go Fish.”