Among the hardest things about parenting is making the transition from taking responsibility for your kids to making your kids responsible. After spending so many years doing for, and protecting, and paving the way for, it's not easy to ask of, expect from, and watch them walk away.
Most of my own transitions have been more from personal necessity than
from any particular transition-making talent on my part. The changes in
my jobs, work locations, and hours have led the way really--when work no
longer took me in the direction of or at the time of school, we ushered
in more independent transportation. When my hours made me unavailable
to be the short order breakfast and lunch chef, people suddenly learned a
bit of food prep. When I became unreachable because of bad cell
phone reception or an all-quiet set, people learned to make decisions
that always used to require my help.
Granted, had my own transitions been earlier in my career, the effects
would have been different, as my kids would have been too young to
adjust on their own. But I would like to think that the transitions that
have sometimes battered me--battered us all--have also been my partner
in teaching responsibility. Often, we rise to what we really can do only
when we really have to, and we all have risen just a little when it has
Transitions aren't easy, but when we allow them to make us rise, rather
than stumble and fall, we can come out of them stronger, smarter, and
more able to take the responsibility we we may never otherwise have
intended. And for me and my kids, that responsibly is a step well-taken.