Since I have my own 17 year old high school junior, who is preoccupied with getting into an ivy league college, I know the time will quickly pass before I will be doing his senior pictures. I am reminded to make the most out of these last months in parenting and preparing him to leave our home.
I've asked my dear friend and artist Caryn Dahm www.caryndahm.com to share a little bit about her real life experiences parenting her high schooler alongside her younger children, and compliment her words so beautifully as she always does with her captivating watercolor art……..
Having a teenager, a tween and a 1st grader, I'm wearing multiple hats. One thing I see in both the youngest and oldest is the desire to be independent and served at the same time! The 7 year old wants to pour his own milk from a full jug that I take down from the fridge just as much as the 14 year old wants me to drop him off places and then make myself scarce. It's that age old dance between neediness and independence.
I especially find my teenager wanting to be self-sufficient and at the same time wanting to be babied. It's no doubt that his love language is “acts of service.” More than once a day I find myself saying to him, “If it is something you can do for yourself, you probably should do it for yourself.” Yet all the while I'm doing a dance in my own head, thinking, “I might only have 3 more years to do for him.” Consistency was never my strength, but I do know in my heart that over-serving him would be a disservice. If not only to him, then to his future roommates and wife.
It was just Saturday morning while I was making scrambled eggs, that my oldest son requested pancakes. I suggested that he go ahead and make them since I was cooking the eggs. One huge mess and some grumbling later he was serving hot cakes to his little brother and sister. Batter was on the counter, he used the wrong spatula, some were flipped before the tell-tail-bubbles appeared, but bellies were full and a sense of satisfaction was shared by all! I'm always glad when I've nudged him gently toward independence. I think in the end he will be, too.
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