Dear Shelli: What do you enjoy most about having adult children?

By Shelli Rehmert, Core Writer

Dear Shelli, I’m a young mom in the thick of it—diapers, toddlers, waking up at every hour of the night (I’m exhausted). Older moms always sigh wistfully and say, “Enjoy every minute” like the best years are the little years. I want to enjoy these years but I want to believe that the “best is yet to come” too. I’d love to know: What do you enjoy most about having adult children?

I love this question because although there were precious moments (and then not so precious moments!) with my children when they were little, I truly enjoy watching them grow up and who they are becoming!

I absolutely love that I am in a season of life that I no longer have to parent my children but rather, I now come alongside them and am available for to support them when needed and give advice when asked.

In addition, ignorance truly is bliss! I no longer lie awake at night and wonder, “why they are not home yet?  Who are they with? What are they doing?” Now, as adults, they are on their own to reign themselves in!

Although not every parent has this experience, it has also been a delight to see them claiming the faith we taught them as their own.

I cherish seeing my five children develop gifts and talents—that go beyond what we even knew they had—now that they are able to explore and be exposed to much more than what our family and community had to offer.

My firstborn, Nicki, had some cognitive struggles after a bout with encephalitis. It was a long hard road to help her academically and I wondered if we would ever overcome the academic obstacles she faced.

What a joyful day it was when we watched her walk across the stage and graduate from college!

I think back on our second child, Seth, and remember how we had talked to him often about being a leader and not a follower.

Didn’t we smile when we found out, that at school lunch time, he was going out of his way to sit with the kids who had no one at their table? It wasn’t long before he had accumulated a table full of people who needed a friend.

As an adult, he is now a youth leader!

Our third child struggled with fears that could at times paralyze her self-confidence. We talked with her, prayed with her, and then sent her on her way, hoping that she would somehow be able to overcome her (what seemed at the time) insurmountable insecurities.

A few years back, I sat in an audience and watched her at an audition for a show in Orlando. This mamma was beaming when I heard the judge tell her that she passed her audition and truly had the “it” factor!

Our fourth child was one who couldn’t concentrate on his studies for the life of him! He was in “la la” land most of the time when he was supposed to focus. I prayed he could hopefully get into a trade school someday and earn a living somehow!

He not only graduated high school but then college, and then went on to seminary to get a master’s degree!

Last but not least, number five came along and bounced through life being the baby without near the responsibilities and boundaries that the older ones had. I fear he got the leftovers of our parenting and his siblings were at times raising him more than we were.

While learning came easily for him, I often wondered if we were giving him enough practical life skills, worrying that we doing everything for him.

Evidently, he got more in the area of responsibility than we thought because he recently got married and has been managing to take care of both of both himself and his wife quite well so far!

So, to answer your question, while “enjoy your little ones” is good advice, it doesn’t stop there.

The joy just continues as you see the years of loving, training and investing take root and begin to grow until it reaches maturity.

My friends who are grandparents tell me that it only increases when you see your children passing on the things you have taught them to their own children.

There is much to look forward to with each season, and I for one, just can’t wait to see what the next season holds.

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

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