In a couple of days my little one turns 20…TWENTY!!! No longer a teenager.

I’m realising that no matter what the age, as parents they are always our baby.

My mum still sends me multivitamins in the post

Being a parent is like walking a tightrope. Putting one foot in front of another and battling between co-dependence, control and letting our children rest in God’s plan for them. I project my own fears and mistakes onto her. I swing in and out of  trying to fix her problems and letting her learn by consequences. Intellectually I know we don’t learn by other people’s mistakes but emotionally, the metaphorical umbilical cord is never really cut.

It’s like taking the stabilizers off their first bike over and over again.

Most of the time the only thing im certain of is that I don’t want her to make the same mistakes as i did. And she isn’t. The miracle is that she is so unlike me at that age its untrue. I spend much time giving thanks for that fact and asking how that can be. I often wonder if  she was swapped at birth and they gave me someone else’s kid.

For whatever reasons I was hellbent on self-destruction and struggled with life at her age. She however, naturally and charismatically marches on as a thoughtful and bubbly person, brightening people’s days and squeezing every last drop out of life.

I ring her when she is out at night with her friends and speak to her as if she is still 13 years old. I ring her to wake her  for work in the mornings, even though she has been juggling three jobs independently for a couple of years. I tell her to not burn the candle at both ends and to make sure she has her handbag with her at all times. I check to see if she is wearing a seatbelt when  travelling in cars with friends and the phone the poor kid relentlessly until I know she has arrived at her destination. I frantically google train times late at night and text and phone until i can rest in the fact that the last train has pulled out of the station towards home and she is on it.  At times she has missed it and I’ve had to let go. I then ring her non stop in the morning when she’s sleeping off the night before to check she’s ok. I hassle her to wear a scarf and winter coat. I interfere with her decision-making based on my own fears and expectations.

I kid myself she belongs to me and I’m in control. I play God.

It’s only when we have one of our own do we finally realise what we put our own parents through. There were no mobile phones when I was a teenager. This is probably a good thing as I took so many risks,  it was probably best my poor mother was left in ignorance wherever possible. I used to hitch-hike through country roads at night and get lifts from lorry drivers! There was much more mad stuff which I won’t mention here but in my hatred of rules and boundaries, I was selfish and inconsiderate and drove my mum crazy.

So, on Monday Georgie is 20. Will I let go of the illusion of control now that she fully enters adulthood? Probably not.

Will I continue to wear various hats in roles such as teacher, counsellor, financial advisor, worrier, controller and prayer warrior. Yes, of that I am sure.

Will I let her fly with her own wings and release and trust her into the arms of our loving Father? Will I try to remember that I am not in control, God is? I will try, one day at a time.

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