Entering the Next Phase of Parenthood
For the past twenty years, no matter what changed in my career or what project I was working on the one constant was that I was a Dad first.
In a few short weeks, my life will enter a new phase where there are no children under our roof regularly. Rolling the reality dice and they come up showing that I won't see my kids again until Christmas.
Growing up, I always said I wanted to be an artist and a father. Those two things were constants, no matter how the winds of desire blew me in different directions. I've been blessed to have achieved both of those goals in ways I never imagined possible.
So how will I define myself now? I know that there is no switch being flipped on my fatherhood because my kids will all be away to college. But, coming home to an empty house, not hearing their music from their room or seeing them lounging on the couch is going to be strange.
There is a vast unknown ahead for us. A mixed cocktail of excitement watching the kids grow into adults with a hefty splash of sadness around them not needing us as much anymore.
Last weekend, I spent time with my family, helping my sister move her company into a new space. As we sweated and smiled, I got thinking about how great our relationship is after all the kids left the house. It was good before, but it is even better now. That thought keeps me smiling as the tears flow, thinking about them leaving.
I know in my heart that this is the next level in parenting. There have been many levels that we've gone through, and each of them had that mix that I'm feeling right now, and each of them turned out fine.
It is fun for Laura and me to talk about what comes next and where we go from here. While we are not making any big moves soon, it is fun to think about longterm where do we end up and how do we get there? Pondering where the kids will land and if we are lucky enough to become grandparents, what does that do to any plans we make?
Parenting is the most rewarding and challenging choice in the world. I wouldn't change any of this, but right now it is all I'm thinking about.