When my three were little and they got into mischief, I warned them they would one day stand in my shoes.
Someone knocked a hole in the living room wall, another kicked a hole in the back of my brand-new recliner, all out of frustration because I held the line on discipline. They bucked curfews, skipped classes in school, and dated the very people I had warned them to avoid. Every time they gave me grief, I dealt out consequences.
You would think I looked forward to the day they would reach legal age and they would fly out of the nest. You would think I would relish my well-earned peace and quiet.
But I didn’t.
My many years as a middle school teacher made me an expert at adolescent psychology, so at the same time I was upset by their misbehavior and bad choices, I also celebrated their fight for independence. I recognized their tantrums, disobedience, and rebellion as normal phases. They were learning to be independent. They were testing limits. What better time than while they were still under my care and I could set them back on the right path?
When it came time to let them go out into the world on their own, some went reluctantly. The Mama Bird in me had to shove them out of the nest. I would always be here if they needed me but they had to try their wings first.
I cried as they left, one by one, but they never saw that from me. It would have been selfish and crippling if I had kept them to myself. When they were born, my strongest desire was to raise strong, independent, hardworking adults. Men and women unafraid of what the world dished out to them. I am glad to see them married and raising their own children.
And now as their own children reach adolescence, all I can do is smile at the grief their own kids are giving them. Ah, karma.