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Holding Tight…Letting Go

Holding Tight…Letting Go

As everyone who has ever raised a child knows, being a parent is forever. It is not, however, a forever full-time job.

When they're infants, our children are totally dependent on us. We make all the decisions concerning their lives:  what and when they eat; where and when they sleep; who they see; where they go; what they wear —even cloth or disposable diapers. You can't have much more control over your child than at this stage of life.

As tots, they start developing more and more preferences of their own:  what they want to eat; what and who they want to play with; even the clothes they wear, and those they won't under any conditions. Let the negotiations begin.

Teenage years present a real tug of war as both parent and child test the waters to see how much power they have over one another. How do you determine the line that can't be crossed without causing an argument or screaming match?  That line can be very difficult to identify especially because, just when you think you've found it,  it moves.

Somehow we survive those challenging years. We turn around one day and find that our child is grown; perhaps she's going to college, or he's going to work. Our child may be moving out to live apart from us. How can that little boy with the runny nose possibly take care of himself?  How can my little princess ever make it out in the big, bad world?

The questions we as parents of adult children are really asking is, "How are we going to live without them?"  Who will we be if not a hands-on mother or father? What will the next chapter in our lives look like?

It's time for everyone to move on —grown child and parent. Though the relationship will continue to change, as each finds his or her way and brings other significant people into the mix, there will always be a relationship. The nature and quality of that relationship is up to us. We can give it appropriate attention and develop something of value or neglect it and lose out on something that might have enhanced each of our lives.

Paying attention to one another can run the gamut from fairly regular phone calls to occasional visits to sending funny or heartfelt cards. Many of those cards can be found online and sent as ecards. One of the best new sites for cards is unvelope.com.