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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rethinking the Family Size

And just like that, she was an adult.

It felt that way, that day a few months ago when Tessa was asked to house sit for her dad while he went on vacation.  When he asked her, my mommy-panic quietly set in, as I envisioned my daughter alone and afraid in an empty house for a week, with only a cat for protection.  But, I said nothing.

She came to me a few days later, saying that her dad needed to know for sure whether or not she could help out.  She asked me, "Mom, is it OK if I house sit for him?"  And then I was completely startled, when the following words tumbled out of my mouth.  I said, "Tessa, the decision is entirely up to you.  You're a grown woman."  What?!  Did I just say that?!  Well, she is after all, 20.  The same age, in fact, as I was when I married her dad.  When did this happen?  And without even a moment to process that very real fact, Danielle turned 20.  And Adam is graduating from high school.  What in the world is going on here?!

My kids are seriously at risk of being fully grown up.  OK, denial just reared its ugly head, because in reality, two of them already are.  I have 2 grown children, and the other one is on their heels.

The dynamics of my family have suddenly changed, it seems.  Tessa and Danielle are so shy, that their transformation was much more subtle.  Not so in my face, as they both kind of tip-toed into adulthood reluctantly.  But as delicately as they might have stepped into it, like it or not, they're in it deep.

And there's no turning back, my Wendy Darlings.

Actually, I'm kind of enjoying the change.  I feel less inclined to hold back with the types of conversations I'd want to have with them, that before, would have seemed odd to have with my kids.  Gosh, nothing comes to mind right now, that I could use as an example, but you know what I mean, right?  The countless types of conversations you have with your adult contemporaries that, up until recently, I just wouldn't have had with these kids.

With careful examination, I have to admit that I do view them differently, but even still, I am having to rethink everything.  Like, as we still haven't replaced our beloved minivan (read about it here), I'm not thinking that I need an 8 passenger vehicle like I used to think I had to have.  How often do all 7 of us go anywhere together, when all 7 arrive, and leave, at the same time?  Right.  I can't remember, either.  And when we do need to be somewhere together, we just take 2 cars.  It's more fuel-efficient in the end to take 2 as needed, than to burn fuel in a car fit for 7, when only 4 of us are riding around in it.

With Adam's right foot out the figurative childhood door, so to speak, I know all too well how quickly his left foot will follow.  Bringing me to a new reality.  We are transitioning to be a family of 4.  I mean, we will always be a family of 7, until our numbers increase with marriages, and grandchildren.  But, for the day-to-day planning, it's very soon going to be a foursome, for the most part.  And not for long.  Abi starts high school in the fall.  Deep Breath.  Here we go!

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