A new phase of parenting

Raising kids is all about phases and milestones. Some are harder than others, but it seems that every phase sneaks up and catches me a little unprepared.

We’ve entered a new one: the addition of the significant others.

christmas-crafts-partyReally, we’ve been practicing this phase since Oldest was in high school. I won’t say much about that experience, except to say that I have rarely celebrated as joyously as I did the day she told me that particular relationship (which kept me awake at nights for three years) was ended. I mean, that one wasn’t abusive or dangerous – just as WRONG as it could possibly be. I cringed every time that guy entered our house.

I suppose there’s a positive aspect to the fact that that initial experience with the significant other phase was so crummy. It made me appreciate the next significant other that much more.

Summary of our current situation:

Oldest comes home a week from Monday. A few days after Christmas her boyfriend, who she met while an undergrad in Chicago, joins us for several days. That was my idea, because we don’t get to see him much, and he’s a great guy. Plus I knew it would mean a lot to Oldest to get to spend time with him over the holidays.

Tonight The Boy brings his new girlfriend home to spend the night – he’s making a flying trip from his college town to attend our high school’s Christmas concert. Again, the addition of new girlfriend on this trip was my idea. I’ve met her briefly, and want to get to know her better. The Boy was thrilled that I offered the invitation. As much as we liked the previous girlfriend, I have a feeling something’s a little more serious about this relationship.

Perhaps the most interesting development, though, is the relationship Middle Sister has been in for the last couple of months. A great kid she met at her university – because he lives in town we’re getting plenty of opportunities to get to know him. He’s her first real boyfriend, he’s perfect for her, and he fits right in with our weird family.

The thing is, at the ages our kids are at, any new relationship could possibly be “the one.” Not that I’m rooting for anyone to settle down and get married right away. Please, let’s graduate first and start a career. But I feel it’s important to go out of my way to create my own good relationship with the people they care about. And holy cow, am I ever thankful that in each case, at this point, we’re welcoming into our home and our life people I genuinely like.

It’s a new aspect of parenting, and I’m figuring it out just like so many other phases we’ve been through. By the seat of my pants.




8 thoughts on “A new phase of parenting

  1. It’s when they marry the one you consider to be wrong for them that the real fun starts… lol
    And then when other families are involved it becomes difficult at times like Christmas. We have been dreading my DIL’s parents coming to visit at Christmas. Is it wrong that we did little fist pumps when we found out that they weren’t coming until New Year? And you wouldn’t believe the difficulties my First Born has in fitting in around her in-laws and us. Often we are pushed to the side when it comes to Christmas time but this year she held out and we get to have my daughter and her family here for Christmas Day for once.


  2. I know what you mean. It’s hard to experience them moving on to a new “family,” which is of course what they should do.

    Those three years when Oldest had the horrible boyfriend (by horrible I mean very right-wing, bigoted, and not terribly intelligent – in every way wrong for her) I was seriously sick to my stomach every time they were together. There came a time when I couldn’t keep quiet any more when he made racist or otherwise ignorant comments. My husband had to tell me at least once a day NOT to let on how much I disliked that kid, because it would only drive our daughter away from us. He was right, of course, but it just about killed me for three bleedin’ years. So for your sake, I’m hoping with all my might that your not-so-great girlfriend situation goes away soon.


  3. I have a little wish…and after 5 years, it think it may be happening. (fingers crossed). On the other hand, all my kids have had long term relationships. I really enjoyed our oldest son’ *is that apostrophe in the correct place?* first girlfriend, but I knew she was all wrong for him, he finally figured it out after 2 years of her overbearing personality. Then she was gone. Out of our lives, just like that. It’s this second one I wish would disappear just like that. 😀

    The other two have had long term relationships, and we try to kind of distance ourselves from them. Other than the one girlfriend I wish would go away, I really like the other two significant others. Not that I have seen our daughter’s boyfriend much since they live on the left coast and we’re on the right coast. He’s a wonderful young man.

    I just don’t want to lose another *part of our family*.


  4. I’m barely surviving the potty training and teaching to read stages of life over here. The thought of significant others feels like an impossibility. One of my friends and I are corroborating arranged marriages… thoughts? 😉 (*totally kidding, although the idea is slightly appealing, hehe*)


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