Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Parenting the NAC

Each stage of parenting seems to have the same three steps:
Step 1: Freak out because this is really hard!
Step 2: Hey – I think I got the hang of this!
Step 3: What the heck? I just got the hang of it and now they’re on to something else!
I thought those steps would end once I’d gotten two through high school, but turns out, nope. I’m now in Step 1 of, “Parenting a Nearly-Adult Child.” And this Thanksgiving, Step 1 took me to school.

I will not get into the gory details (because they make me look pretty bad), but I would like to share one thing I wish I would have considered before 5 pm last Wednesday:

Before the nearly-adult child (NAC) comes home, do this:
1) Be happy the NAC is coming home.
There – that’s it. The key to a happy visit home for both the nearly-adult child and his/her parents.

To be clear, my NACs did nothing wrong. I was the one who blew it – somehow these visits home are feeling especially weighty as I realize my oldest will, in a mere 18 months, graduate from college. And the second-born’s college years will certainly go as quickly as the first-born’s, and my baby is in high school… I was living in the future instead of the present.

The present was beautiful. My three kids were home. I should have been enjoying those moments instead of worrying about what life would look like in two years.

My NACs will be home for Christmas break in two weeks. I intend to remember to be happy and thankful they’re coming home. And I will enjoy every minute.

Well, except for the minutes I ask them for a picture. Apparently, getting the three of them to smile at the same time will remain a near impossibility.
And I'm not even posting the pictures we took inside the house...

Finally.