These days, as a mom, I increasingly feel like Martha Kent. During the richest, most rewarding years of my life, I have poured my energies into the raising of my children. As they begin to leave home, one adventure at a time, I’m that crazy mom back home watching them leave to pursue their own destinies while I stay in the background in Smallhome instead of Smallville.
Except I’m probably more like the going grey Martha Kent of the comic books of my day instead of looks too young to be an older mom Senator Red Queen Martha Kent a la Annette O’Toole in the TV series.
My kids still live here, but each new adventure takes them a little further from home. Sometimes they leave the nest at the same time for their own unique journeys.
On their journeys, they do things their way which can be different from my way. Sometimes when they share their solutions for problems, my first instinct is to ask, “What?” Their approaches can seem alien to me. Over time, I’m learning that instead of pushing them to do everything my way, the outcome is better when they develop their own way. What works best for me will not always work best for them.
That reminds me that my kids aren’t my children given to me to keep. They were given to me to raise and let go.
Most of the lessons I could teach my kids have been taught – talking, the tying of shoes, reading, writing, arithmetic, and a work ethic. As they leave the nest, I wonder at the places they’ll go and the people they’ll be. As they soar on eagle’s wings, I thank God for the chance to know them and raise them. They will venture to places I’ve only dreamed of seeing.
In Superman talk, their adventures will lead them to discover unique ways to honor “truth, justice, and the American way.” As they do so, I’ll play the Ma Kent role back on the family homestead, cheering them on and cherishing them through the victories and loving them through the defeats.
Now, as the back seat cheerleader, I can only repeat the words of St. Catherine of Siena:
Be who God meant you to be and you’ll set the world on fire.