Parenting Guru: Why Can't They Stay Little a Lot Longer?

Last July, I turned 40. It was momentous, but not nearly as big a deal as three days later when my premature daughter was finally able to come home. At the time, my eldest was 18, my youngest was six months, and though the road had been rocky, I was optimistic that I would survive the remainder of the teen years, despite how many we had ahead of us. Luckily, the girls are broken up by a boy who is currently 15.

See, I love my daughters. I was meant to mother girls and boys who aren't joiners thereby rendering me a sports mom. I survived years of volunteer work that was about as volunteer as incarceration, long hours of play practice with an artsy director who never considered to check a clock, and boy problems that resulted in emergency baking and family movie night sessions. All of that paled in comparison to the challenges that arrived with coming of age.

At eighteen, in my experience, the teen, who still relies on the parent for everything but air, will suddenly and selectively start referencing rights that are both real and imagined. In such a situation, I have opted to bastardize the Miranda rights...suggesting the right to remain silent....more or less. Just recently, as we celebrated Easter, my daughter told me rather sternly that I was not to tell her what to do, since she was an adult.

me: Do you live on your own?

R: No.

me: Do you pay rent?

R: No.

me: Then you are not an adult. Adults live on their own, pay their own bills.

R: I pay for my car and my phone.

me: Your phone won't charge and your car is dead on the street.

Clearly we have some issues to work through. How do I encourage her to grow, to be independent, to prepare to live on her own when I feel like she is so far from living on her own? There's a reason this is our last stop before they leave this house. And often, I am counting the days. One with one foot out the door. Two more to go.

While I wouldn't change my choices for having children for anything, I have made a few startling discoveries as of late. No one endeavor has done more to both keep me young and age the heck out of me as becoming a parent. No experience has been more frustrating and more fulfilling at the same time. And as much as I joke about shooing the eldest from the nest, I am ever so grateful that I won't have to experience an empty nest for a very long time.

What are some of your parenting revelations?

When Nicole Andrews Moore isn't pondering parenting, she can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.