Pushing Them Away, But Always a Fan

By Michael

I was watching a hummingbird feeding its young and I wondered when the clock would run out. At what point would the mamabird stop bringing nectar or nits or whatever to her brood and force them out on their own? Would she actually kick them out of their very tiny nest and hope they figured out how to fly before some snake ate them?

Parenthood is like that. From holding their own cups to dressing themselves, from riding a two-wheeler to driving and buying their own insurance, our continual vocation is kicking them out of the nest. People are lots dumber than hummingbirds, it appears, so it takes us 18 or 22 or 30 years to finally get them flying on their own, but we hope to make progress every day.

Push and pull. Hover and ignore. Hold and let go. Even with two grown women, I see the process as unchanging. Both girls can drink without sippy cups now and they can dress themselves, so there’s no need to help on that front.

So, what do they still need from a parent? What is the parental role that’s constant, even after they’re out of the nest and flying just fine on their own?

My sister relates a story from her childhood. “Dad told me,” she says, “’right or wrong, I’m always on your side.’”

And maybe it’s that simple: the parental constant, the factor that never changes and shouldn’t as all of us grow up or raise our own children. Somewhere, everyone needs to know that there’s someone on their side. Rooting for them. Wanting them to succeed. Hoping for them to come out in one piece, on top, wiser and not-too-badly singed from the experience.

Always on their side. Even when we’re kicking their tiny little butts out of the nest.

Michael Rosenbaum is 5 Minutes for Parenting’s first dadblogger. He is a business consultant, playwright and author of Your Name Here: Guide to Life.

Michael blogs on life issues at Your Name Here Guide to Life and manages the Adult Conversation discussion group on Linked-In.

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