When I told a friend of mine that both of my girls would be home for the summer, working, she sighed and said to me, “This summer won’t be easy. You are going to be tested and exhausted.” Well, it isn’t even July 1, and her wise words have already been ringing in my ears. Parenting is a journey. Parenting teens is a test. Parenting young adults is like the final exam, except that there are so many possible solutions, partial credit options and half right moments.
Watching my children grow to become independent problem solvers has been a thrill. Finding a balance between respecting their autonomy and preserving my sanity has been a challenge. Contemplating next steps is like sitting on one side of a chess board during a quietly fierce match. Each choice has benefits and costs.
This is, quite possibly, my last summer with both of my girls home. It is the final stretch of time before my youngest goes to college. In under two months I will be an empty nester. I’m trying to enjoy the last minute changes of plans, and refrain from commenting on the wet towels on the bathroom floor. I’m taking a breath when a 7:30 text comes in asking what’s for dinner and I thought nobody was going to be around to eat. In the grand scheme, the dishes left on the counter, the gas tank not filled, and the contents of the backpack that are strewn across the sofa aren’t big problems.
This summer isn’t easy. I am feeling tested and I am exhausted. But I’m smart enough to know I also need to savor these two months. It is, quite possibly, my last summer with both girls home.