When I sat down to write this, I was going to talk about "Raising Sons." I read an article this morning (and posted it to my Facebook account). But then, as I thought about it, it's more about me. I feel like, not only am I guiding my kids down the right path, but I am also setting myself up for the future. The future truth is they will leave.
The article I read this morning was about Missy Robertson's words to her son after he announced his recent engagement. The whole article is fantastic. But one part really resonated with me. Missy is quoted as saying:
"Now that my oldest son, Reed, has chosen Brighton to be his wife, he needs to love her more than he loves me. And I,as his mom, need to understand that. There is no place in a marriage for a man to love his mother more than he loves his wife. And there is no place in a marriage for a mother who hasn't accepted that."
This particular part stuck out to me for many reasons. I love her bluntness. I appreciate it. I think, we as parents (Mommies especially) become so defined by our children that it is very hard for us, and others sometimes, to see us as separate individuals. We spend so much time, so many man-hours, so many sleepless nights wrapped up in our children that it is difficult to see our lives as disconnected. We are allowed to be separate individuals. We should be raising them to one day leave us. Not only is it healthy (for both), but it's biblically commanded (Ephesians 5:31).
My kids are little. They are only just 8 and 6. So I do not know what it's like to send them off. I don't know how hard that's going to be for me. So, I am prepping my family now.
My daughter only has 10 more years in our house. And this hit my husband hard the other day. We have been married for (just shy of) 10 years, and he says that flew by. So to him, it was a rough blow to hear that he only has 10 years left with her. We talk openly (as openly as you can with an 8 year old) about dating, finding the one and moving on. She knows we don't think marriage should be an option before she graduates college and is stable in a career. This is something she already knows. She knows she will leave us physically, geographically. She knows she is destined for great things, and that we are grooming her to fly off and achieve those things.
My son has a slightly different perspective. Last year, when he was in Pre-K, he fell in love with a sweet little princess. Let's call her H. H and Bud were "boyfriend/girlfriend" for nearly the entire school year. Every time I saw H, she would tell me how much she loved Buddy and how she was excited to marry him when they grow up. Buddy felt the same way about her. One day, while in Publix shopping for milk, Buddy and I had the following exchange:
Bud: Mom, when H and I get married, we are going to move to California.
Me: Ok. That sounds exciting.
Bud: I am going to be a chef in H's restaurant.
Me: That sounds great. A chef is an excellent career choice. So, H is going to work with you at the restaurant?
Bud: No, she just owns the restaurant. She wants to be a dolphin trainer.
Me: *laughs* Ok. It's nice you guys have a plan.
Bud: So, will you move to California too?
Me: Nope. Your Dad would never consider that state.
Bud: But how can I go? Where will you be?
Me: I don't know where I will be then. But you can go anywhere you and your wife want. When you grow up, and you figure out exactly who you're going to marry, you'll leave Mommy. And I will be ok... I have Daddy.
Bud: *thinks about this for a bit*
Bud: Well, I think you'll miss me, but ok. Will you come see us when we have kids?
Me: Hold your horses little Stu... Can we talk about my grandkids after you learn to read?
I have had countless other opportunities to mention to the kids that they will grow up, find the love of their lives and leave me and their dad. And not only is that OK, it's how it's supposed to be.
I hope one day they will thank me. =)