When our children are little, wearing well-padded diapers and toddling around exploring their world, we worry. We want them to expand their understanding of their world, but we are often consumed with worry of potential falls and injuries.
While the toddler years are rough on parents, society warns us to be prepared for the really challenging teen years ahead. What we fail to realize as we worry our way through each new phase is that in all the years of our children’s youth we are there to catch them when they fall. They live in our homes, drive our cars, eat our food, spend our money, and are protected by our insurance. Just like the toddler in the thick diaper, our youth are buffered. Their inevitable stumbles and falls will occur while we are nearby to care for their injuries and sooth their fears.
Society fails to warn of the level worry we will feel when our child exits our home as a legal adult. So much like the toddler years, early adulthood is filled with challenges and adventures that will most certainly result in falls and injuries. There certainly will be near misses and startled emotions, and there will be periods of great frustration. Regardless of how well we prepare them for the world, they will toddle once again as they develop a surety in their own balance. Only this time around, we will not be on the spot to reassure them or sooth them.
While we parents are warned of many things as we work our way through the stages of our children’s growth, we seem to seldom hear the sage warning that those toddler years were preparatory for the day when we would hug the adult child and then watch them toddle away from our home.