Parenting – that’s what I’m talking about. I know there’s this common American mindset about raising children. You hear it in movies, on TV, from people here and there. “Get ‘em to 18 and then get ‘em ‘outa the house.” Is that really how it is? Is that your idea of parenting, if you’re a parent? They click over to 18 years old and you just turn the parent button off? Is that how it works?
My guess is that you don’t believe that, and neither do I. There is no switch, at least I haven’t found one. And if I have one, I don’t know how to turn it off. Haven’t figured that one out yet. It’s a problem – it can be – it is for me.
Parenting isn’t really appreciated by the 18+ year old American person (God forbid I say “child.”) Did you need parenting when you were 18? I certainly didn’t… think I needed it. It’s a very difficult transition – childhood to adulthood – Oh, not for the “child,” you thought I meant for them, ha! No, no – not easy for US! It’s torturous for parents to go through raising/watching/seeing their children transition from being children, to being adolescents, and on to adulthood. Torturous.
Of course, as with everything, I speak from my own experience. What else can I do? This has been a very difficult transition for me – one which I am still moving through. My oldest “child” is now 24 – then there’s 22, 19, and finally 17 (soon to be, gulp, 18). What do I do with them? (that was mostly rhetorical) And that’s a complicated question. They all still live at home, by the way, which adds a level of difficulty to the question in my mind. And for the record, I like having them still living here – not trying to kick them out. It’s just hard, I’m saying, to transition from interacting with your children as children, to interacting with them as, well, something akin to adults. I can’t see how anyone who is a parent wouldn’t get how that’s just hard.
What’s more: I am the protective one (some might say “overly” – whatever), the worrier, the one who has a nearly impossible time going to sleep unless I know they’re all home safely – that’s me. Don’t preach at me about this – seriously. This all makes me “job” of figuring out how to deal with, talk to, not talk to, etc., my, my whatever they are, very difficult. I think I’ve said that already.
Best I can guess, at this point, is that it sort of doesn’t really ever end – the parenting thing. There’s always a sense in which you’re still their parents. I’m still going to be their Father, their Dad, even when they’re 57. Something about the nature of that can never change. There are obviously changes in the way in which that role plays out. At some point, you have to find a way to parent, not necessarily less, but differently as time goes along, as your children grow up.
I, for one, have not figured that out. I’m also this one: the one who has a very, very had time “letting go.” I’m not even sure what “letting go” is supposed to mean. “If you love someone, set them free” – OOOK Sting, whatever that’s all about. So, before this turns into a chapter in the book I’m not writing, I’ll sort of wrap it up by saying, it’s hard, OK – just hard.
I wrote this prayer a couple of years ago, I guess, but I’ve never shared it. I think I had some weird notion of using it in a book and not wanting it to be “stolen.” Lord have mercy. Anyway, things like this are to be shared. I hope this might be useful for some of you who love fishing as I do. I actually do pray something at least similar to this each time I get ready to go fishing.
Father, thank You for water and the fish that swim there.
I thank You for the beautiful world that You have created and given to us.
I also thank You for the opportunity to be here and to fish.
As I fish today, I ask You for Your protection…
Protect me from snakes and other animals that may harm me.
Protect me from falling and drowning.
Protect me from lightening and flash floods.
Protect my eyes from flying hooks.
Protect me from the bad intent of evil people.
Send Your Angels to watch over me as I wade or walk or travel by boat.
Help me, O Lord, to cast accurately.
Help me to read the water and the seasons.
Help me to see You and listen to You as I fish.
Help me to appreciate the wonder of Your creation.
And help us to treat the fish we catch with the respect due to Your creatures.
I thank You again, and pray all these things in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, Who consorted with fishermen and Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. Amen.
Making an effort to be quiet today. I am far too addicted to “noise.” It’s a beautiful, rainy Summer morning – not hot – no real people sounds in the neighborhood this morning. Perfect for sitting outside under our little shelter thing in the rain. Bird songs are mixed with raindrops. Good, healthy stuff.
He is leading me from darkness to light, from sadness to joy.