Going, Going, Gone…

My son is starting high school in the fall and his church group moves up to a new time beginning this summer. In order to keep parents apprised about the new church service for young adults, the leaders held a meeting for parents to let us in on the details. Eager parents like my husband and I were ushered into an auditorium where we heard what we all knew but didn’t want to acknowledge: in four years, our kids would be gone.

Now, I’m no fool. I know my son will be leaving the nest at the end of high school. His comfortable nest here at home will become what I like to call the safety net of college—a time when he’ll be responsible for making adult decisions with the benefit of his parents (the safety net) for backup. I believe without question that kids learn more about personal and social responsibility during college than they do in the eighteen years they lived at home with their parents. I know I did. I wouldn’t feel settled about sending him into the big, bad world without having experienced those four years with the safety net.

Even knowing that in four years he’s gone, I got tears in my eyes when some hip, young stranger spoke the words out loud. My exclusive time with him is narrowing to a time in the future I can actually visualize. I remember when he was born and woke up every two to three hours and I thought I’d never have another second to myself—ever! These days I can barely get his attention

I’m a writer and I embarked on this career when my daughter, my youngest, went off to kindergarten. I’ve loved every second of the time I’ve spent weaving tales for my enjoyment and now for the enjoyment of others. This writing thing takes time, lots and lots of time. I keep looking into the future and seeing nothing but time in front of me when my kids will be grown and out on their own. I’m trying to find a nice balance between this career that I love and spending as much time with the children I love more than anything. Balance isn’t easy.

I know everyone who reads this isn’t a writer, but everyone has things that pull them away from their families, things they do for themselves that make them feel good, but also feel guilty. If you’ve been able to find a nice balance with the things you have in your life, I’d love to hear how you did it. If you’re like me, struggling to find that balance, let me know I’m not alone—like I will be in six years when my daughter graduates and it’s just me and my husband and these stories bouncing around my head.

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About Christy Hayes

A wife, a mother and a writer of romantic women's fiction. I love dogs, exercise and cable news.

Posted on June 11, 2012, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Welcome to my world! It’s summer and I’m up at 6 am to get some writing done. 🙂 I was probably the only one who was cheering the rain yesterday because it meant I could squeeze in a few hours of writing without feeling guilty about not doing yard work or going to the barn. Of course, there are those closets that need cleaning out….

    The high school years go quickly, but so do the college ones. Even though the kids go away to school, they still find their way back home again. And, that first summer home is a doosy! Eight more weeks!

    In four short years, my husband and I will be rattling around this house by ourselves. It’s a pretty scary thought. But, on the other hand, my house will be cleaner and I will finally get to watch what I want on TV! 🙂

    These next few years are exciting ones for both you and your son, Christy, enjoy them!

    • I appreciate the advice and hand holding from my friends who’ve been there or are doing it now. This phase scares me, Tracy! I’m trying to enjoy them.

  2. Thanks Christy!! Constant struggle to find the balance …. Definetly not alone!!

  3. Grumpy Laura thinks that if she had been any good at balance she’d have run off and joined the ballet or been a gymnast.

    This growing up business happens in a flash. I guess in high school we are beat over the head with the idea that it’s actually gonna happen.

    • I guess those who know better think beating over the head is wise. And you’re not grumpy–at least not grumpier than me!

  4. Well, Christy, you’ve read my many posts about my son graduating high school (in 5 days!!) and my struggles with his attitude. I, too, recall the first few days after giving birth and the excitement of his growing up and his needing his Mommy so much. Now he doesn’t listen to a thing I say and treats me badly a lot of the time. Sometimes I just want him out of the house, yet I’d miss him so much. I write while they’re both in school and since I don’t have another job outside the home, my balance is more easily found. However, I can’t imagine my life NOT totally connected to my kids’ lives. When (and IF) it’s only me and my husband, I’m not so sure I’m going to like it at all.

    • I can see some good times ahead when they are out of the house. I probably won’t see them when the prospect of them leaving is much closer. I think part of that attitude you’re getting from him is in preparation for his leaving. I’ve heard so many parents say they are ready for the kids to fly the coop by the end of their senior year.

  5. I definitely learned more about myself and responsibility while being in college. But I’m thankful I also had my parents to fall back on when I needed them. I’m sure your son will feel the same. It’s amazing what a little time in the real world can teach you about your parents and all their sacrifices as well.

    • Christy Hayes

      I’m looking forward to when he can appreciate us, but I don’t want to rush the years to get there. Great to see you here, Rhonda!

  6. I’m totally struggling! While I LOVE my children and want to be with them, my desire to write and do things for myself is equally compelling. Losing who I am for the sake of my children does no one any good. Being there for them during our years together does a WORLD of good. So I try and do both, but if and when push comes to shove, the kids win.

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