It’s official, I am the parent of two adult children! Symone is 25 and Jamiel is 18. Both have graduated high school and are well on their way to building the futures they want. This is new territory for me. Although I have had time to adjust to Symone being an adult for several years, it never gets any easier to see her struggle, learn lessons I wish she didn’t have to and to go through heartache I wish I could protect her from. Not all is doom and gloom, these are just the parts I would like to control. And now here we are, Jamiel walking into adulthood with excitement and terror. Back in February when he turned 18 and we celebrated he had a look of dismay on his face. If you know Jamiel he often has a look of dismay, I promise you that is just his face, when he chooses to smile it lights up a room. Back to this particular look of dismay. I asked him what was wrong, he’s my shy child so I have to probe a bit. He finally admitted he was nervous about having to move out and find his own place. He didn’t know how he was going to pay bills and if he was really ready to live on his own. I was shocked. I went back over the multitude of conversations we had, had lately and I didn’t recall asking him to move out or giving him a timeframe to do so. Insert society with their two cents. Social media and the expectation of others led him to believe that since he is a “man” now he has to handle everything on his own, that being, being responsible for his housing and bills. While I find it admirable that he was coming up with a plan, it also made me sad that this is how a lot of children are introduced to adulthood. Especially young African American men. The expectation of struggle!
I sat with my son that day and listened to his concerns and frustrations. I wanted to console him but he reminded me lovingly but firmy that he is becoming his own man and that his feelings about entering adulthood are valid. We talked about his future, my expectations of being an adult in my home and what his new responsibilities would be. We’d had these conversations before but it seemed on this day turning 18 wasn’t a joy but a fear. I prayed with my son, that fear and doubt be removed from him, that he would embrace the adult journey and that I would relinquish my need to control him and allow him to grow. This isn’t easy for me, but I trust that I’ve planted a great seed and that my son will bear great fruit that brings him joy and peace.
Are you currently in transition with your new adult child? Or maybe you’ve been the parent of an adult for a while and you are still trying to navigate the fine line of not being in control? How are you handling all of this?
Mantra: I can only control what I can control.