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You Have to Let Them Grow Up

by Tina Ray, Legal Assistant

Children aren’t children for long.  Tiny humans grow into little people with their own personalities and then into young adults with their own opinions and voice.  My daughter is 17 years old and a senior in high school.  I’ve watched her develop from a mini-me to a mature, independent young woman.  Earlier in her education, I would have to continuously ask her about her homework deadlines, school projects, and follow-up to make sure they were completed on time.  But, about two years ago, as a sophomore, she decided that it was time to buckle down and she didn’t need me to do that anymore. College was looming in her future, and her GPA was important to her.  Her dad and I weren’t consulted about the classes that she needed to register for, and we did not need to know what type of homework or projects she had or when they were due.  McKenzie had matured overnight into a young adult.  I had my doubts, but she has managed to handle her classes and grades all by herself and maintain at least a 3.75 unweighted GPA with Honors and AP classes.   She decided that she wants to go to UNC-Greensboro to study nursing and will start in the fall.

Sports also used to be a big deal.  McKenzie excelled in soccer and softball but discovered travel volleyball at age 11, and our family embarked on a new adventure.  After playing for five years on a great team and traveling to many states to play indoor and sand volleyball, she decided she didn’t love it anymore.  Once again, she began looking forward and decided that she needed to focus on her future and concentrate on school and felt like volleyball would take too much of her time.  She was not interested in playing in college and felt that it was time to move on.  She started working part-time and thus began a new phase.

I write all of this because I want parents to know that kids grow up fast.  We blinked, and McKenzie has become her own person with her own hopes and dreams.  She doesn’t need us as much anymore.  I can remember feeling that overwhelming feeling of having young children, trying to work and maintain a home.  I would never “catch up” with everything that needed to be done.  Now, my youngest is almost grown and will be on her own soon enough.  She doesn’t need ME as much anymore.  Now, we’re more like friends sometimes than mother and daughter.

Try to enjoy the small things, don’t do laundry or vacuum if your child wants you to play.  Spend time talking to them and looking at things through their eyes.  Let them be kids.  One day, you’ll turn around, and they will be grown, and you will be wondering where the time went.  Believe me, time passes so quickly, and you have no idea what to do with yourself when you don’t have to help with homework or projects or take them to and from practice.

“Letting” your children grow up is not an option. It will happen right before your eyes.  Hopefully, you will help them develop into smart, honest, loving adults.  Just take (make) the time to enjoy it and them.