This afternoon, I’ll take our daughter out so she can practice driving. She wants to drive the route from our house to the pool when there’s no traffic. This will prepare her to start driving the route the six times a week we currently take her, usually in rush hour, such as rush hour is in our little town. She’ll rack up miles behind the wheel in no time if she starts driving to and from the pool.
And then once she graduates from learner’s permit to real license, we’ll probably never see her again.
I’m continually amazed by how different our kids are, despite both of them being made by the two of us and despite both of them growing up in all the same conditions in our household. I mean, they’re similar in a million ways, too, like they both have wry senses of humor that kill me. I’m very pleased that they are funny; humor and kindness are pretty high up there on my values list.
But they’re different in a million ways, too. Our son prefers to be home, hang out with his friends online via gaming, keep his thoughts to himself until he’s ready to share, and was pretty chill about getting his license or a car. Our daughter prefers to be on the go, hang out with her friends in real life any time there is a possibility to (weekends are all sleepovers these days), wears her heart on her sleeve, wanted to get her learners permit the second she became eligible, and is the one pushing us for her to practice driving.
It shouldn’t surprise me that they’re different, of course they’re different. All humans are different, and everyone I know who has a sibling is pretty different from their siblings. As a parent it’s kind of amazing to watch those differences play out right in front of you, in your house, in the people you made and raised. It’s wonderful — I love that they are fully themselves and are so different from one another, despite all the sameness in their nature and nurture. But still. It’s bizarre.
Another weird thing about parenting is how often your perspective shifts. There was a time, when our kids were young and needed so much from us, that I daydreamed about how glorious it would be to escape for a weekend, to get a hotel room just for myself so I could have silence and read books and not have to be responsible for anyone else’s needs. I’d daydream about when they’d grow up and move out, and I’d be free again.
“Sixteen more years.”
“Ten more years.”
“Five more years. Wait.”
“Two more years. WHAT?”
“One more year. Noooooooo. 😭.”
Our son is filling out college applications this week, and I want to slam on the brakes. Our kids don’t need us that much anymore. I mean, aside from the obvious food and shelter and helping them along through life. Now that I’ve had those nights alone in hotel rooms, and our oldest, my first baby, will likely move out in less than a year, I’m rethinking how much I want them to move out. And really, I’d be okay with them staying a while. Or, like, forever.