Marla Smart

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You are still the parent | Moms

This past weekend, we celebrated our oldest child’s 20th birthday.

I have now officially graduated out of the ranks of being a mother of teens.

Well, I still have two in their teens, but I’m in a quickly changing place.

When Emilie was born, we didn't know what parenthood would be like. It changed us drastically. We joke at home about it.

On the way to the hospital (and for all the time I had known him until then), Jerry drove a car like he was on a racetrack.

Coming home with brand-new, precious cargo, I don’t think we topped 20 mph – on the highway!

But seriously, it seemed that all the decisions we made from then on became so much more weighted.

We thought as parents now.

As our family has grown, it hasn't been much different.

I listen and participate in conversations with other mothers about the bitter-sweetness of our children growing up.

It’s not easy when they start being old enough not to need us, and I will always feel that way.

The truth is, I will never stop being her mom. Parents are parents forever.

The relationship may change a little, but it’s still there. I should embrace this evolution.

I need my own mom. I don’t need her to make me dinner every night. I need her to talk to me and be a friend (although she will still tell me if my house isn't clean! Love ya, Mom!).

With Emilie, I have had an excitement build for each milestone: first teeth, first step, first day of school – skip a few years to first car, graduating.

Now I can look forward to being her parent in this next phase, whatever it is, with excitement and pride in who she is.

So, I encourage you to not be afraid of your role as a parent changing.

You will always be the mom (or dad.)

And your child will always need you in some way or another – as I was reminded this morning when I had to wake up my 20-year-old in time to go to college!

Parents are parents forever.

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The News-Review Updated Mar 13, 2014 07:13AM Published Mar 7, 2014 07:29AM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.