My Third Son

When our first child was born, I often said parenthood is the world’s greatest science experiment. There is no handbook, and all you can do is change the variables and hope for the right result. After having three boys in three years, I have learned that each child has a different set of variables, and there still is no handbook. How fun and exciting it is! 

Yet now, as we are less than one month away from our third son’s high school graduation, I find myself with some mixed emotion. (Of course, at my age it seems my emotions are mixed on almost a daily basis!).

Packing in the Parenting

While my husband and I have worked to instill a good heart, values, work ethic, drive, determination and other attributes that we believe will serve our children, and the community they choose to serve, well, I also realize that we’ve been trying particularly hard in these last few months to “pack it in,” knowing how relatively short the time is for doing so.   

But I’ve feared that by trying to “pack it in,” I’ve removed the enjoyment of this special time, and I have worried that “packing it in” may have meant “leaving it out.”

When I voiced that recently, our soon to be graduate said, “As the third born boy in a three year time period, with both parents who worked and traveled, I probably received the least amount of attention, and I think I have turned out pretty well. . . so why change now?”   

Sticking to the Original Plan

It’s a strange, but gratifying, emotion when you realize your 18 year old son is right! So I am heeding his advice and just trying my best to be the parent I have always tried to be — one who gives freedom and trust while providing some boundaries, who tries to attend as many events as I can while realizing I can’t attend them all, who talks with him when he wants to talk but gives him space, and who reminds herself that, even as he leaves home for the next chapter in his life, he will know when to come to us with questions or for advice. And I know he will know I will still be his number one fan! 

Let’s just hope that these are the right variables for this moment in our lives.

Jane for Hanner Clarke

(Pictured from left—John Hanner, Ty Allen, Jane (with Maren bag) and Greg Allen)