It should be at the moment, since both of our girls are at school.
However, that’s not what I mean. I no longer have a car seat – in any way, shape or form – in the back seat of my car.
Just a week ago we allowed our seven-year-old to stop riding in her booster seat, something she could have legally done a year ago, but which I had postponed until now. I would have held out even longer, but since our older daughter had graduated from hers at the age of seven, a precedent had been set. Now the back seat looks large and bare.
So, another milestone in parenting has been passed. It’s kind of like packing away the high chair or storing the diaper bag in the top of the closet. People who park beside me in the mall parking lot and cast a glance into my car won’t even know whether or not I have children.
I am finding that part of what makes this journey called parenting so difficult is that things are always changing. It’s been years since I had to change diapers or wake up for 2am feedings. Potty training is behind me and I rarely need to cut up any one’s food.
Instead, I’ve moved on to helping with homework and driving our children to soccer practice and piano lessons. Keeping potentially dangerous objects out of their mouths or making sure all the electrical outlets have child-proof covers are no longer at the top of my list of worries. My concerns these days run more along the lines of who their friends are and how to best protect them from being influenced by all the worldliness that surrounds them. The discipline has become less about obedience and more about attitudes and character development. Some things are simpler, yet so many are infinitely more complicated.
So, you mothers of teenagers and young adults, tell me – does this next phase of childhood pass just as quickly as the first one did? My comfort today is that God is there with me each step of the way, willing to give me the wisdom I so strongly crave, if only I will take the time to seek it.