I find myself in a strange parenting place, friends. My youngest child will be 13 in two weeks. Since starting middle school he has become extremely independent. Recently he even began navigating our great subway system. 

When the older boys were doing these things, it felt somehow adventurous, and I was a leader, guiding them into a new stage of life. Now I just feel like the very best part of my life is draining away, slipping like slime through my fingers, impossible to hold onto. Also, unlike his brothers, he is not running toward being a teenager with the same ‘escape’ type gusto. He’s the kind of kid that learns from the mistakes of others just fine, no need to make every mistake himself to get it. He sees the struggles of becoming a young adult and how responsibility changes and increases with age.

He is perfectly happy to bust his butt for grades because it makes for a happy household. He doesn’t get yelled at, punished, grounded etc. He goes over and above with school work earning straight A’s, as it translates into a long series of “yes’s” for him. I sometimes feel uncomfortable with the amount of time he spends online video gaming, but I’m not sure if it’s just my antiquated hang-ups. How can you say no to someone who does holiday homework without his parents even knowing he had holiday homework to do? We make him do chores, he must attend karate at between two and four times a week, he is a part of extracurricular activities at school. How can I say no to him just for the sake of saying it or splitting hairs over an extra 30 minutes of game time? He obviously is enjoying this in-between stage where he has autonomy after school but still has his happy childhood setup at home.

One of my biggest problems in all aspects of life is learning how to just enjoy the present. I frequently mourn past situations and anticipate future unhappy changes. Even now when everything is really nice in my home, it makes me that much more afraid of what could and might go bad in a year or 3. Just this idea that I’m losing something and want desperately to hold onto this time is causing stress. My goal is to stop thinking so much and just start being happy in the moment of time I currently am in. Wish me luck.

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