STK - Woman sitting on the grass in the Park with a smoothie.
Stock Photo

I called my oldest daughter this morning, as I usually do on Saturday mornings. When I called today, it was 10:30 a.m. at her house and she was just sitting down to a breakfast smoothie. She was excited to actually sit down and enjoy her food.

Her comment was simply, “Everyone needs to have a Saturday like today, meaning what a joy is was to have time to exercise in the morning, take a shower and make a smoothie, not worrying about getting out to coach a soccer game or watch another child’s basketball game." She wasn’t even rushing to the grocery store to fill the upcoming week’s menu items. She was just being.

Granted that meant she was still busy; preparing to meet up with a friend for lunch and then attend another friend’s wedding in the evening. But she was doing something I believe is important without knowing it. She had allowed her oldest son to worry about a writing assignment on his own. She had allowed her boys to find their own exercise and activity by not telling them to go out and play. They found jumping on the trampoline in 40-degree weather to be a fun activity without any “mom” coercion. She didn’t know what her daughter was up to at that moment. She knew there was nothing to worry about. She was just being. She was taking care of herself in almost a pampering kind of way. (Something moms rarely do)

In contrast, I have a daughter who wants to be in control of everything. She feels responsible for, well, everything. If a coworker has a car stuck in a snowbank, my daughter goes to try to push the car out. If someone at work is out sick, she tries to complete all of her work and theirs. If our grandchildren are coming over to visit, she feels the responsibility to entertain them.

Sometimes I wonder how I raised such opposite daughters. And then, maybe they had a lot to do with raising themselves. Maybe as they became adults they also decided who and what kind of adults they would “become.” Both are wonderful contributing citizens by the way — busy with volunteer work and service as well as fulfilling daily responsibilities.

Maybe I’m learning as I watch them. I want to take the time to take care of myself. I think this includes things like getting sleep and exercise and chocolate. I want to be helpful and responsible. I believe this means doing my best at work and doing things to serve my family and community. And maybe it means watching my adult children become wonderful people without trying to guide them in the direction I think they should go. (Yeah, kids don’t want unsolicited advice, especially when they are no longer kids.)

But I won’t stop observing and learning from my children. It is one of the best gifts of being a parent — letting go and watching your little flock fly on their own.

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Jennifer Sant is a Utah high school teacher, energy wellness coach mother of five and currently grandmother of nine. Contact her at