Do you ever think about what it will be like when your kids are adults and move out?  I sure do!  My kids are much closer to the next phase of their lives than many of my friends kids.  My oldest is almost 20 and my second oldest will be 18 in April.  Yes, my daughter’s still have a few years.  One of them has about 3 years until she’ll be 18 and the other has 6 ½ years.  But, really, I think about it.  I remember when they were all very young.  I remember how busy I was, like, always!

I remember not being able to use the bathroom without a little hand reaching under the door from the other side.  I remember not being able to finish a hot meal without having to get up from the table to assist one of my children with their meal.  I remember having to leave events or stores because a tired toddler just couldn’t handle all of the errands or stimulation.  Believe me, I’ve been there.  I wouldn’t trade any of those experiences for anything.

Those times have passed for me.  I adore my children and I loved parenting them when they were babies.  Those were some of the most challenging, but most amazing years of my life.  And now, I feel free!  Yes, I still have two kids at home, but they’re much more self-sufficient.  They don’t need me to feed them or change their diapers.  I don’t have to help them brush their teeth or get dressed.  We spend plenty of time together since I home school them.  But after dinner time, it’s my time.  And, man, that feels great!  I can let my girls know that I need some alone time or that I’m going to spend time on a hobby and they know how to keep themselves or each other entertained…without fighting!

I’m ready for the next phase.

I had an interesting conversation with my sister recently.  Her husband’s mother seems to be having difficulty with the fact that he doesn’t want to live close to his mother.  This is a grown man who has been on his own for many years.  He was in the military, lived in Europe for several years, and has been married to my sister for six years now.  But his mother just seems to be finding it difficult that he doesn’t want to live near her and be with his family, like, constantly.  My sister and I talked about how very normal it is that her husband has made his family (my sister and their two kids) his priority in life.  I mean, isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?  Grow up, make a family of our own and live our lives?  Yes, of course, we’re there for the family we grew up with, for the people who raised us, but in a different way.  If a close relative becomes sick or has a major life event, yes, we go to them.  But priorities change and that’s just the natural course of things.

It was an interesting conversation, since I have been thinking about how quickly my older kids are moving forward with their lives at this point.  I can’t seem to find anything wrong with my kids growing up.  I’m sure I’ll find times when I’m lonely after all of my kids are gone, but, again, I am so excited for the next chapter of my life!  I can’t wait to have more alone time with my husband.  I can’t wait to do some traveling with him.  I had my children when I was fairly young, so I’ll still have plenty of time and energy for living my own life after my girls follow in their brothers footsteps and go out on their own.

My husband and I want to run our farm and create a solid business.  We want to be able to provide young people with education about growing their own (organic) food, raising animals, animal care, and so on.  We want to be able to welcome people onto our farm to pick their own fruits, pumpkins, and offer a selection of fruits and veggies in a cute, little country store.  We feel this is our time, while we’re still young, to do this now that we have less mouths to feed and a strong desire to run a business.

And to those who are having a hard time with their kids growing up and becoming more independent, I say this: Enjoy this time!  You have spent so many years raising your children, loving them, caring for them, and helping to shape who they will be.  Trust that you raised them well and that, while they will make mistakes, they’ll also learn and grow.  Let them fly!  Pick up a hobby, (or two or three, like I have) and have some fun!  Getting older doesn’t mean we have to stop having fun and our kids moving out isn’t the end of the world.  It’s the start of something new and different, but definitely not the end!