Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Columns

January 17, 2014

JACKIE DAVIS: Letting go of childhood

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — It is inevitable. It happens in almost every family. It’s gradual, and yet it always seems to happen overnight. It causes an immense tangle of emotions that we can’t always understand or sort out. It matters not if it’s boys or girls. It sometimes causes conflict. It always requires change.

It is the moment in time when it truly dawns on parents that our children have grown up. It’s the realization that our “little ones” have entered adulthood, and that our role in their lives as parents has changed. It’s the acceptance of a life transition that we’ve spent years preparing for — whether we realized it or not. 

In order to have healthy relationships with our adult children, our role as their parents must change. There must be a time of “letting go” of their childhood in order to respect and accept the adults they have become.

My husband and I transitioned into parenting young adults last year when our twins, the youngest of four, turned 20. With the milestone of twin 21-year-olds on the horizon, I’m realizing that I haven’t made this life transition quite as smoothly as I thought.

I recently had a string of reminders that I was in a season of letting go, reminders that I no longer had “little boys” “t’weens” or “teens.” Some of the reminders made me smile, some made me sad, and some were simply an amazing “reality check” that I could not live their lives for them, nor could I protect them from all potential danger or harm.

Old Spice recently launched an ad campaign called “Smellcome to Manhood – the Mom Song.” It had over 6 million views online within a week. It portrays various mid-life mothers lamenting the transition of their sons into manhood while trying to, literally, hold on to the little boys they once were. In the commercial, the mournful moms sing:

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