Roots and wings. If you're a parent, you've probably given lots of thought to that concept. It's what we all were told we needed to provide as parents. We needed to provide the security of roots and a sense of belonging to our children, and we needed to help them grow wings that could spread and take them wherever they needed to go. And that's just what I did. If you're a parent with older children, you likely did that, too.
So my sons have spread their wings and long since flown the coop! They don't all live right next door to me anymore. They are my sons, but they aren't "mine" in an ownership sense. Most families have that experience these days since our society has become so mobile. So we must adapt—and savor whatever times we can with our kids and grandkids. It's important to be intentional about making time for each other in these days of insane schedules, even for the youngest of children. Everyone is booked and scheduled up to the hilt, it seems. Several of my grandkids are teenagers, so they really do have busier schedules than I do these days. They, too, are my grandkids, but they aren't "mine."
This puts us in touch with several issues: balance, expectations, the ability to let go and a sense of ownership. In Mark Nepo's The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have, he reminds us, "... the dearest things in life cannot be owned, but only shared" and says that our possessiveness and jealousy "often contaminates how we love." Nepo urges us to loosen our hold on the things around which we feel "ownership," including relationships. This is a good reminder for me anyway, because at times I have expectations around relationships and time spent together that can cause me disappointment.
What's your experience? Are you good at finding the balance between roots and wings? Do you keep your expectations realistic? Are you able to let go of disappointments and expectations that don't materialize?