After six years of steady persuasion, my husband finally agreed to begin the process of finishing our basement. The exposed wood frame and orange insulation now has possibilities to become a finished living space for us to enjoy. We recently had a contractor come to our home so he could give us an estimate on the project. As we engaged in small talk about our families, he shared that he had three young children, and then looked and my husband and I with envy and said, “It must be awesome to have kids who are all grown up and on their own–you don’t have to worry about them anymore.”
My husband and I immediately looked at each other with the same look in our eyes–the one that silently said, “This guy has no clue.”
I’m sure when we were younger, we also lived in that delusional state that one day we would experience parental freedom. But we now know all too well that worrying about your kids doesn’t terminate when they turn 18. In fact, I would argue that it is quite the opposite. When they’re five, a kiss and a Batman Band-Aid can stop the tears. A 12-year-old heartbreak could be quickly mended with a trip to the pet store to cuddle with cute puppies. But as adults, our children’s hurts and disappointments aren’t as easily repaired. Some leave a scar on their heart rather than on their knee. Others bear consequences that are lasting. Parental worry and concern never ends–it merely goes through renovation–just like our basement.
As parents of young adults, we can no longer step in to fix what breaks or send them to their room when they don’t listen. Instead, we need to be there for them–no matter what. They need to know that we believe in them, even when they might not believe in themselves. We need to remember that they, like us, are going through renovations of their own; they’re learning how to navigate life with their own rudder and not their parents’.
Being the parent of adult children has given me a better perspective of the love God has for us; how he wants so desperately to fix it for us, to tell us exactly what we need to do to make things right, to steer us in the right direction. But then it wouldn’t be our choice–it would be one made for us. We all need to make those discoveries on our own–then we can look back and see that God was right there with us through it all–cheering for us, crying with us, and loving us like crazy.
So as we get ready to renovate our basement, we are also in the thick of renovating our life as parents. It’ll take time, it will surely be messy at times, but the end result will undoubtedly be beautiful and worth it.–CK