Our lives are often said to be broken up into seasons, marked at their edges by significant life changes. MJ’s graduation from high school has started such a seasonal transition for us. He is the first of our children to reach adulthood and we now have to learn to deal with the changes that occur in the parent/child relationship. No longer can I pull out the parent card to overrule his decisions, but must respect the fact that he has the right to make his own decisions without my interference. This can be a hard transition, especially if you think your child is making a mistake. Just because he is legally an adult doesn’t stop us from wanting to protect him. Yet this transition is necessary for both us and MJ.
What has surprised me the most about this transition is the impact on the other children. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised, but based on their interactions over the last several years it just never really occurred to me that the other children would react so significantly. Over the last several years there wasn’t a lot of daily interaction between MJ and his siblings and what did exist was mostly squabbling; MJ is almost 6 years older than CJ his next oldest sibling. However, while MJ was at his grandparents’ working for the summer, it became apparent that this was going to be a difficult adjustment for them as well. What started out as excitement about reclaiming certain areas of the house, the man-cave that had become the teen-pit, quickly disappeared. We of course knew they loved their brother, but I suspected they would enjoy at least a few months of separation. However, the kids’ excitement was short lived and within days the frequency of the kids expressing that they missed him became a daily event.
MJ is now back home and starting his adventure into adulthood. For now he is living at home, but certainly there will be a point where he will move out permanently. Although it will be hard on all of us it is something that is critical as we all move into our new seasons. However, I’m now mindful that MJ’s brother and sisters are also impacted by this changing relationship and that part of our job is to help them make the transition. Another teaching moment provided by life.