Most things come to an end.
- School is over when you graduate.
- Vacation is over when you go back to work.
- Lunch is over when you reach into your bag and realize you’ve already eaten all the food you packed for the day.
Ya know, things like that (listed in order of increasing sadness).
This column, too, has come to an end. Yep, this is my last one with The Herald News and Taunton Daily Gazette. (More on that later.)
But some things are never really over — like being an Adult With Kids.
Once you become a parent or stepparent, you’ve started a journey that doesn’t have a graduation or an end date. You’re signed up for life*.
(*I realize some people opt out, but this isn’t about that.)
Even after the kids leave home, you, as their parental figure, are still their fallback. If you’ve done your job right, you’re still the one they call when they need advice, or a listening ear, or help with their laundry.
I think about that sometimes, as my social media feed was flooded some months ago with smiling pictures of high school graduates and life milestones.
“Those parents have survived their kid’s childhood!” I thought. “They’ve made it! Their job is done!”
But it’s never done.
Parenting is a “forever” thing. Stepparenting, too.
Who do I reach out to when I need advice about the kids, or am frustrated with a life decision, or worrying about a friend?
(Hi, Mom and Dad!)
I’m 30 years old, and I haven’t let my parents off the hook yet.
My husband was 35 when he separated from his first wife and needed support (and a place to crash). Guess who he turned to.
I guess that speaks to the trust we both have had in our respective elders.
And if my husband and I are doing this parenting thing right, hopefully my stepkids will feel the same way about us when they’re 30 or 35. (I just hope we have our parents’ wisdom when we get to their level…)
In the meantime, the kids’ trust is earned right now, while they’re 8 and 12.
Sometimes we don’t think of it in those terms, though. In the back of our minds, I think my husband and I are focused mostly on getting the kids through their teenage years. Getting them off to college or whatever path they choose after high school. Getting them into their own apartment / house / living situation — and then we’ll be free! —
Except we won’t. And that’s a good thing.
Because being a parent, and a stepparent, is a job for life.
But it’s a job that, for me, won’t come with a column here anymore. If you’ve ever taken a moment to read it, thank you so much.
I hope it’s been relatable, or at least, ya know, mildly enjoyable every once in a while.
If it has, I’d love to hear from you! >>>
- SAY HI: Shoot me a message at email@example.com.
- CUTE CATS: If you’ve enjoyed my cat illustrations, they live on Instagram and Facebook at @em_varo.
- THE STORY CONTINUES: I’ll still write (maybe once or twice a month?) at my blog, right here!
Thanks again, and good luck on your own journey, whether stepparenting, parenting, or simply just living this wacky thing called life.
Keep being awesome!
Originally published in The Herald News on July 28, 2019.