They say that parenting never gets easier, that even when your children grow up, you’ll still worry about them. I never believed any of this, especially while I was a stay-at-home mom to four little ones. Anything had to be better than dealing with endless diapers and unidentifiable rashes and middle-of-the-night shenanigans. But they’re right. Parenting never gets easier, it just changes.
Take, for example, our youngest, who’s currently enjoying a semi-gap semester. She’s living at home, doing a class online and working at a local coffee shop (RIP, empty nest). Recently, she’s decided to assert her power as a woman by going to the Balkans. Solo. And then to a youth hostel in the mountains of Poland. Again, solo. In total, she’ll be gone six weeks backpacking through Europe. All by her young, beautiful lonesome.
Our initial response? Absolutely not! What if you get snatched and sold into a sex trafficking ring? We’ve seen “Taken,” we know how it works. “But Mom, you were in Vietnam by yourself and were fine!” “That’s because I was a middle-aged woman with readers and clunky orthotic shoes!”
She pressed her case: “Where I’m going is safer than half the large cities in the U.S., and besides, I’m 18. And I’m paying for everything. You actually have no say.” Fine.
Now, I’ll spend the next few months in abject terror that even if she somehow avoids being kidnapped, she’ll fall into a ravine while hiking, lose her passport, be mugged at gunpoint, contract a deadly disease and/or (gasp) fall in love and decide to stay! The horror.
Nope, parenting certainly does not get easier.