|Anna Harrington 2007. All rights reserved.|
All parenting is difficult at times. But nothing has prepared me for parenting adult children. I have found that Loving adult children and letting go is difficult, but sometimes the right approach. I remember being a young mom, a very young mom, and expressing my exasperation at parenting my challenging ADHD child to a good friend. Her response to me was…”Just wait till their teenagers!”
At the time I was a bit shocked by the response. She said it very lovingly and light-heartedly, but it stuck with me. Was I really prepared for all that parenting would require through the years? In all honesty, no. The truth is that no one can be fully prepared for such a high calling. We just have to learn as we go and as life changes and the challenges keep evolving, we must also change and keep growing.
As homeschoolers, we even go the extra mile to select the best possible education for our children. We strive to provide them with what we think is the most necessary and important education for them as individuals. We do everything in our power to address their needs. As we approach high school things continue to keep us challenged as we deal with a variety changes in our children, their need for independence but at the same time needing the protection and support of family.
All our lives we work so hard to provide the best we can for our kids. Through it all we are changed by them. They have molded us into what we are today. They have blessed us by being in our lives. So how do we let go when the time comes as it inevitably will for them to be on their own? We pray. We realize that first and foremost they are a child of God. It’s been a beautiful blessing to know that and trust in God’s ultimate care and love of them.
On this the Feast of the Holy Family the first reading today at Mass was from 1 Samuel 1:20-28. It tells of how Hannah offered Samuel to God. She knew he really belonged to the Lord first and foremost.
As my children have grown, two of which are adults now on their own, it is easy to worry about them. I worry that they may wander astray or even get lost along their adult journey. Will they forget the path I have shown them or even worse choose not to travel it?
In the gospel today, Luke 2: 41-52 -The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple Teaching the Elders, we see the child Jesus from the perspective of Mary and Joseph as lost. Sometimes children can get lost and it causes their parents “great anxiety” (vs. 48). The fact that “Jesus was in His Father’s house” (vs. 49) highlighted the primary relationship between Him and the Father.
Our children also have a relationship with God, even if they forget that, God still loves them and nothing will ever change that. We know that when our children were baptized they became God’s little child and part of the Family of God too. So even if we can’t always be there to protect and love them forever, we can have peace in knowing that they are part of a family which is bigger than themselves and loves them.
Finally, as Mary is always giving us instruction with her example, in the Gospel today she “kept all these things in her heart” (vs. 51) It is important to reflect and pray about the challenges I face as a parent. It is also important to treasure the gift my children are to me. What is God’s call for me and you as a parent today and as part of a family this Feast of the Holy Family?
The Harrington Family Mission statement:
We are a military family striving to serve God, our country and each other.
Each of us pledges to love and support one another and work as a team.
We each resolve to be faithful, accepting, courageous, loyal, resilient, adaptable,
patient, respectful, loving and forgiving.