Midlife Musing Kuel Life Contributor: Amy Schmidt
When we think about all of the changes we go through at midlife, certainly one that many of us have is the ever-evolving relationship change and challenges when our kids become young adults.
You think back to those times with matching sweaters, and everyone sitting around the table at holidays, and the memories flip like a rolodex in your mind. I bet you’re chuckling to yourself saying the word rolodex. Our kids wouldn’t have a clue what that is.
Alright I’m just going to kick this off by being real. As a parent of a college junior, my thoughts between Do I? Or Don’t I? (send them back, of course) were an everyday occurrence in my mind all summer. And, as a Gen X’er, I’m part of that generation of Do we? or Don’t we? Do we work or stay home? Do we breast or bottle feed? Do we send to private or public school…..and I could go on. We were always faced with these what to do’s.
This Fall The Big Questions Were:
Do we send them back to college or do we keep them home?
What are we going to do now? Our, once empty, nest is filling up again.
This year looks a little different for those of us that have college kids heading back to school, or young adults that may be ‘boomeranging’ and sitting in your living room on the couch with you as you read this.
“picture your child sitting in their dorm room, alone….surrounded by hand sanitizer and masks”
I was certainly a bit anxious about sending my twenty-year-old back to college in the midst of a pandemic. I probably am not alone in that thinking. And whether this is your first, your only, or your last to fly the nest, COVID concerns are everywhere and seem to monopolize our thoughts as parents. Maybe you’re like me, and your mind begins to spin about 2:00am, as you picture your child sitting in their dorm room, alone….surrounded by hand sanitizer and masks.
But we have to sit back, breathe for a bit, and realize that the decisions we make are best for our family, our circumstance, our story and everyone is different, and no-one has all the answers.
Our kids are learning the art of resilience, and they’re going to be okay. And, our young adults that are boomeranging home, and challenged with losing their sense of independence are trying their best to figure it out. They’re learning way too early in their careers the definition of furlough, and figuring out next steps as they may have to file for unemployment.
The Perfect Storm:
“Definitely, this is a time of great uncertainty and with that comes worry.”
Uncertainty, stress and fear. It’s the perfect storm for chaos. But, also a challenge we could have never imagined, and the end result is that we will build character. And, as much as we have been their teachers all these years…..we learn from them as well.
Definitely, this is a time of great uncertainty and with that comes worry. But let’s think about all that these “kids” take on as they leave. They have to adjust to living away from home, making new friends, figuring out how to study, and finding the courage to ask for help. COVID certainly adds another layer to that ‘newness’; but, we all know our kids are going to get sick. They all do.
I can remember the call with two of mine their freshman year. I think the phone rang about 2:00am….the dreaded phone call. “Mom, I don’t feel well. I think I have a fever. What should I do?” There certainly is more worry as we don’t have all the answers about COVID, but we can’t worry about tomorrow, or the what if’s. I’ve incorporated a new mantra into my routine and that is simply I’m taking it one sunrise as a time, because that’s all I can stretch right now.
The Art Of Flexibility:
These kids have had to live through disruptions and disappointments, and are learning to master the art of flexibility. They are creating new boundaries, learning about pandemics, tackling talks about racism, and how people are being mistreated and judged.
It seemed like yesterday they were babies, and I was worried they would climb too high on the jungle gym, and I might have to rescue them. But you know what? They got this. I think most of our teens and young adults that are away at college, or working remotely from home, realize that this is new territory for all…and staying safe, and making good choices is part of their daily routine.
Creating Their Imprint In This Uncertain World:
“These kids in the world right now are different.”
It’s crazy to think our kids grow up, and take on the challenges of the world, navigate the uncertainties, and get pretty awesome at stuff. At times I sit back and can’t even fathom all they know….and how much I’m learning from them.
It’s funny, I find this generation of 20-somethings tolerant and at the same time skeptical of my generation. They have fitness apps to fit in daily workouts. It’s just part of their to-do lists. Listen to their opinions carefully. There is a whole lot to learn from this generation.
It’s a challenging time, almost like a shift of platonic plates, as the kids move on from ‘littles’ to becoming individuals, apart from their parents. I certainly went through phases of second guessing myself. And, now with the craziness of the world, that all seems to be magnified, and at times we are not sure what to do.
And that’s okay.
As a parent, when your work is almost done, you think back to those sleepless night of ear infections and colic, breakups, and the door opening a wee bit past curfew. These kids in the world right now are different. Treasure them. Listen to them. Talk with them. Hug them tight. Savor every moment.
About the Author:
Amy Schmidt is a podcaster, author, public speaker, blogger and founder of the brand, Fearlessly Facing Fifty™. She launched her business and brand six months before turning 50. Her mission is to encourage women over forty to push fear aside and find that hidden treasure of confidence, that may have been pushed aside for awhile and not let this time of life allow them to lose their identity.
Her work has been published in Grown and Flown, Scary Mommy, Today Parents, and many others. You can follow her on social media. Her instagram handle is: https://www.instagram.com/amy.k.schmidt/. Join her Face Book community: https://www.facebook.com/fearlesslyfacingfifty.net/. You can subscribe to her website and read her blog and find links to her podcast. https://fearlesslyfacingfifty.com/ Her podcasts are available on Apple, Spotify, SoundCloud, or simple Google the Fearlessly Facing Fifty Podcast. Amy loves to connect with her followers and encourages emails to [email protected].