My last child turned 21 a week ago and unlike my older two, still shows signs of being dependent to a certain extent. I made it clear that I won't be tolerated and as a result, we have disagreements from time to time.
My friend whom I will call "Jess" for purposes of this blog, has had such a horrible time single-handedly raising her three sons. Mind you, there have been good times and like myself, with the assistance of family, was able to bring them into adulthood without any of them ever having to be jailed or involved in drug-related activities, or anything such the like. However, for Jess, it certainly has not been easy. Her youngest, Nikk, was hit by a car as a very young boy while they resided in Miami, Florida. He survived the accident but lived with several - mostly mental disabilities as a result of same. His right leg was badly affected and he therefore walked with a slight limp. Nikk had to go through special education and amazingly he graduated from high school a couple years ago. Nikk was unable to drive and got around via public transportation, family and friends. Jess often commented on how lucky she felt that his life was not taken as a result of the accident back then.
This past Friday afternoon, I received the most devastating phone call ever -- that Nikk was again hit my a motor-vehicle. "Which Nikk?" I screamed. "Not Nikk who had already been through this?" Nikk is 20 years old. He had been getting around on his own for many years and had already been through the trauma of being hit by a motor-vehicle. Jess was bawling her head off. "I can't go through this again, Valerie, I just can't do this!" I wondered why Nikk - again? Not that is should happen to someone else because Lord knows I wouldn't wish that on anyone. But no - not Nikk - again.
His face was all bruised up and now his "good" leg was broken in three different places. He was hospitalized and surgery was performed on his leg immediately. The quick decision was then made that he will no longer be taking public transportation or walking across the street. So, even though Nikk is an adult, parenting comes back into play once more.
We strongly believe parenting never ends. No matter how old our children are, we still feel committed to parenting them, especially in time of great need. Even if/when they marry and have their own families, we (or at least I do) still feel that parenting never stops. It really can't. We love them so much. And especially if they are doing really well in their lives, we feel even more eager to be there for them in their time of need.
Parenting just never ends.