The Almost Empty Nester: Off Roading

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Off Roading



I tend to be kind of an anxious person. It's not something I'm proud of, but it is something I will own about myself.

Having said that, I pride myself on being able to multi-task, stay organized and basically run a nest full of five people fairly well and without a tremendous amount of drama.

But lately I've been struggling with the kids not understanding that I like to have a plan. It's not that they ever really understood it, but when they were younger I had a bit more control over it. (Yes, the control freak issue. I'll address that someday, I promise.)

Thing 1 is kind of like the Energizer Bunny. He never stops moving and he's interested in everything. And I do mean everything. He will come home every day from school wanting to get involved in something new - the play at school, basketball, wrestling, student council, service projects. And these are great things. I want him to find what he truly loves in life. But this is not easy for a planner.

Every year I sit down with Hubby and say, "Okay, this year Girly will do volleyball and softball and student council. Thing 1 will do, blah, blah, blah. Thing 2 - same thing." He just laughs and says, "Okay. Sounds good." He's accepted that it sounds like a plan, but it's simply never how it all turns out.  The kids change their minds and it drives me insane.

We were talking about it recently and Hubby gave me a great visual. He said, "Babe, we are on the road and we are headed straight. Thing 1 will veer off to the left and you follow him. You gotta stay straight. He'll come back. Then he'll go off to the right and again, stay straight. He'll come back." I told him this was great wisdom and his response was, "Well, we've been married for 20 years. It's what I do with you."

Fair enough.

You see, Thing 1 is just like me. I veer off too. The planner that I am has a tendency to use my enormous imagination and create situations that most likely will never happen. (Hence the picture of Anxiety Girl. That's me. All me.) Thankfully I married a man who knows how to stay on the straight road and patiently wait for me to return.

And I'm learning. I really am.

I've always wanted my kids to have the freedom to try new things. To really see what they want to do in life, what interests them. But the reality of that is tougher than I thought. Again, I'm outnumbered.

But Hubby is right. I need to stay straight. That doesn't mean we don't let Thing 1 try the things he wants to try, but I don't immediately jump to him doing that one thing the rest of his life. He's only trying it.

Which makes it hard for me to plan. But I'm learning to live with that. Less off roading and more straight ahead. I have a ways to go, but I'm trying.

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