Today my oldest daughter and her boyfriend treated me out to lunch. She's been living in Vancouver. It was a quick but nice visit. Its a triangle of emotions being a mother of now adult children that have left the nest. A transition that has to happen to continue to have a healthy happy relationship between each other. Regardless if it's exciting for our adult child to leave, it's difficult nonetheless. A huge shift and change of responsibilities. It becomes apparent very quickly on how important family and parents really are. My oldest daughter is now twenty four. I remember every year and it's a bitter sweet feeling knowing that my job as her guardian is now over. I'm still her mother taking a step back, allowing her to lead her life, make her own mistakes and I'm here for when she needs me. We have four adult children now. I feel confident that my husband and I have done everything we could to support, protect and allow experience during their child/adolescent years but it's also hard to take a step back. I'm learning. Our parenting might be over for these four, but we still have twelve more to raise keeping us busy. Sometimes I visualize having only three to six children and what our life would look like right now in comparison. I would be working outside our home, and more likely traveling.....then that vision disappeared while feeling blessed knowing I get to continue raising children and witnessing what great adults they will become. Regardless of the challenges, the frustration and the ongoing cost raising children - I honestly would be lost today without my twelve that still need my guidance. After a few months not seeing my oldest daughter, we sat across from each other as adults reminiscing. I left proud. Proud of my daughter. Proud of myself. Now embracing a new chapter, (a new chapter for four) and a continuation for twelve more. My husband and I successfully raised four to adulthood so far and we're still sane! lol Us parents never take credit where credit is due. Today my feelings of sadness shifted to feeling a congratulations was in order. We might not have an astronaut or a heart surgeon but we have healthy happy adult children moving forward and that's good enough for us. AND if my older children (adults) are reading....."Our dedication for you is from love" "It doesn't matter if I birthed you twenty four years ago or adopted you ten years ago, you were my babies from that beginning. You might be adults now but my love for you is just the same" We still have an adult child living at home but we've learned to step back recognizing that extended parenting and over-functioning isn't helping to develop the necessary skills for real life. It's actually very educational for parents to learn themselves on when enough is enough and "helping" too much can cause a lack of independence. It's hard when we want to support and show our love by over-indulging as a parent. I have learned this all on my own and it only took four adult children later! I now know that us parents (I am) responsible for the relationships I have with our adult children. If they continue to feel entitled, or they're being disrespectful - it's because I've allowed their behavior to exist. If we want change, and our adult children to step outside the nest, we guide and support them in that direction. I truly know that pro activeness is key to any situation. There was a time I thought none of our children would move out. Not anytime soon......but it eventually happens, it's healthy and we as parents have to let them go. My enlightenment today was its time to step back, allow our adult children to do things for themselves, to make their own choices, learn from their own mistakes, and to start building their own foundations. I know it's a lesson learned for me, and a difficult transition for our adult children to grasp that our roles shift, but it results in being that loving responsible parent teaching our children their own life skills. I gave my oldest daughter a hug knowing I might not see her for another couple of months, I walked away silent and proud.