I've taken a break from blogging recently to focus on the third book in my Legacy Trilogy. This work represents the final chapter in the saga of the Kingsley family. In this book, I am focusing on the change in the relationship between Tessa and her two sons as they mature and become independent adults. The book has, at times, been difficult to write because much of it has caused me to reflect on my own relationship with our adult children.
I was watching one of those animal shows on TV the other day and I was struck by the similarities we all face as parents: the push-pull relationship between a mother's instinct to protect and nurture her young and the desire to teach them to be independent. It's a dilemma all parents, whether animal or human, must face at one time or another.
When our children are young, they depend on us for everything. For the most part, we freely give up a large portion of our own independence to meet that need for them. The dilemma arises as the child becomes more independent and reaches adulthood. We lose our role as the dominant authority in the relationship and become, instead, equals. If the parent has always relished their role as the primary decision-maker, this can be a difficult, if not impossible transition. Some parents may feel compelled to force the adult offspring to remain as the child in the relationship. This usually fosters resentment and can ultimately destroy the relationship altogether.
On the other hand, if we have raised independent children, they often go off and make a life for themselves on their own. They make their own decisions and no longer rely on us for advice or guidance. After devoting a good portion of their lives to raising the children, parents can feel abandoned and purposeless. Some will relish the return of their independence and pursue interests that were deferred during the child rearing years. Others will try to insert themselves back into the lives of their children and maintain their previous role. This can impede the growth of the adult child toward independence.
Tessa Kingsley wrestles with this dilemma in The Edgewater Legacy. One of the most difficult things we do as parents is stand on the shore and watch our children as they learn to swim. We pray that the skills we have taught them will keep them from drowning in life's troubles. We try to keep them close to the shore where we can rescue them, but they venture further and further away from us. Ultimately, we must accept the fact that their survival is in their own hands.