But along with it came awards, and parts in the high school play, chaperoning class trips, and graduations. And then, slowly, beautiful people started to emerge. Not perfect — they did inherit our foibles and idiosyncrasies — but distinctive and wonderful nevertheless.
And as “they” (the expert parents of older children) predicted, many things did get easier. I was invited along on shopping trips as more than just a wallet holder. We realized that we did have some things in common as equals, such as music and movies and good food. And they realized what they really knew all along — that I wasn’t a perfect parent or a perfect person, and hopefully they can forgive me for that.
We’re all still living in the same house, so the challenge is now co-habitating with other adults who used to have to listen to you but now have their own minds, their own agendas, and their own time schedules. Differences in ages with the children and adults now meld into one area of respect — when will you be home? Who can pick up milk? is now not just asked of me as a parent but almost like a round-robin of let’s try to do this together.
I know they will leave to live lives of their own, or we may retire first and beat them to it. Either way, I am proud of the almost-adults I have raised and nurtured, who are very vocal about what I did wrong and, thankfully, what I did right. It’s all a work in progress, this family thing. And just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, it will morph into something else — someone moves out, or moves back in, or their heart gets broken. But it’s the imperfect-ness of it all — the trying, the crying, the compromises that makes a family grow through the years.
Recreating a photo
I told the kids what I wanted to do, since I’d seen it on Facebook, and one by one they admitted it would be a cool idea. I tried to match the outfits closely, in color at least, and had them pose the same way. When it came down to taking the photo, we had a lot of fun. The result was worth it all.
If you recreate a family photo, send it to us (either as a collage or two separate photos) and we’ll print it in the Herald. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org