Keep Calm And Kerri On: ‘Roots And Wings’
Published: July 4th, 2022
By: Sun Columnist Kerri Green

Keep Calm and Kerri On: ‘Roots and Wings’

Dear Friends,

From the moment you find out that you are going to be a parent, you begin to dream. You dream about who your child will be and what kind of life they will have.

You look forward to the big milestones like their first day of school (will they hold your hand tightly or run into school without looking back?), first big game or concert, first dance, their first love interest (which usually leads to that first broken heart). Middle school, high school, graduation and then off to college, workforce, military or backpacking across the country.

Story Continues Below Adverts

There are so many “firsts” and moments that will help to shape them into who they will ultimately become. Our kids are always watching, learning, and deciding. We give them their roots and they take it from there.

Successes, failures, tears (from you and them), moments of pride and moments of disappointment. As the parent you get to sit on the sidelines and watch them make decisions and choices that aren’t always what we would have done. We offer advice, guidance, and hope that in the end they learn from it, maybe they get lucky, and hopefully no real damage is done along the way. This is easier said than done and I know I have handed out my fair share of both solicited and unsolicited advice over the years.

It’s a real struggle to teach your kids to be resilient, learn how to problem-solve, and develop the ability to figure things out on their own. It’s hard to take a step back and let them do just that, especially if you can see the cliff they are about to jump off and they can’t.

As parents we need to remember that we only know the things that we do because we, too, jumped off that cliff or had to figure our way out of a sticky situation. It’s ok for our kids to do the same thing and we need to let them do it or they will never have the foundation needed when a really big decision or problem is staring them down.

There isn’t a parent out there that doesn’t battle with this, and while I am no expert, I like to think I gave my kids enough room to make their own decisions, while making sure a safety net isn’t too far away.

Rach gets annoyed at me because when she was younger, I let her do pretty much whatever she wanted when it came to her hair and clothing. There was a period of time that she sported dark red hair as opposed to her brownish-blonde locks. She also loved to wear hats, especially a fedora. This girl didn’t meet a hat she didn’t like, and she owned about two dozen hats.

To me, clothing and hair was something I refused to do battle over with my kids. There was a period of time that Gracie wore a colorful tutu over leggings, refusing to wear pants. Go ahead, Madonna, knock yourself out. Now when we look back at pictures, both Rach and Grace will say “Why did you let me do that?” I just laugh and say that I was letting them express themselves.

Story Continues Below Adverts

Whether the decisions are little or biggish, we do our best to guide them until they are ready to make huge, adult-sized decisions on their own. This past weekend, Rachael did just that as we moved her to Pennsylvania. After attending four years of college there, she and some friends have decided to make their college home their permanent one and got an apartment not far from where they went to school.

From the time she told us she decided to move, we have been impressed with her. They found a great little apartment in a good neighborhood. They contacted the utility company to get everything setup for move-in day, figured out their monthly expenses, and everyone pitched in to get what they needed to get the apartment comfortable. Even more impressive that on her own, Rach applied for, interviewed for, and was offered a job working within the court system. She’s decided to take a year off and work before applying to law school, which is also a very grown-up decision to make!

I wasn’t sure how I would feel as we packed up her little U-Haul trailer and made the trek to her new home. My friends kept saying things like “be strong” and offering words of support and encouragement as the day got closer. “Bring tissues” one friend said. It reminded me of her first day of college and how I was fine all day long, until we drove away for the first time. Would it be the same?

The only emotion that took hold of me was pride and excitement. What is there to cry about? She’s doing exactly what I always dreamed she would I couldn’t be more excited for her as she takes this leap into adulting. She’s smart, independent and is more than capable to handle this huge responsibility.

It’s a bummer that my go-to shopping partner is now a few hours away. She is always willing to go with me to a friend’s house for hot tubbing, bonfire, glass of wine or fries and sauce from ‘Beer Tree’. While I will miss my daughter, I also feel like my friend just moved away.

I had a sad moment today when I was grocery shopping. I wasn’t thinking and found myself putting food and snacks in the cart that I normally get for her. When I realized what I had done, I sadly put them back. I am sure I will have more of these moments as the weeks and months pass by, but I also know she is the person I always dreamed she would be, and she’s got this!

The best we can do for our kids is to give them strong roots and a solid foundation so that when the time comes, they can spread their wings and fly. As I told her, you can fly away from the nest, but remember to migrate home once in a while.

Be well,

~ Kerri

The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of any entity that this author represents.