I am able to see my parents this week and I am beyond thrilled to spend time with them! Their visit has had me thinking about one of the greatest gifts of parenthood which is also one of the greatest things that my parents have ever given me. And that great thing is this—-the freedom to be an adult. It always made me sad when I met girls that were in their twenties who still had their choices being controlled by their parents. Granted, maybe some of these girls lacked the fire to stand and choose and be an adult. But there was also a great pull of control by the parents. That really saddened me. It also made me realize how great a gift my parents had given me when they let me leave the home with wings that were all my own. I was 17 and able to make my own choices, choose my own path, and start my way to becoming a woman.
They never made me feel bad for leaving the home, they expressed their trust in me in the relationships I chose to have, they gave me the freedom to choose college or not. I chose not to do college and they supported me. They did not pressure me to come home for the holidays, but always loved it when I did. They did not meddle in how I spent my money, how I dated, or how I went about my work.
And don’t get me wrong, they were there when I had needed them! I called. I cried. I asked for advice, and they helped, comforted, and then let me grow again. If I had questions about taxes, Dad would walk me through it. If I had a question about money, we looked at the account together…but eventually I just started asking the bankers.
If I was going to pursue answers to my chronic pain, then I needed to do it. They weren’t making my doctor’s appointments and scheduling surgeries. I chose my insurance, asked plenty of questions (believe me, I had no idea what I was doing most the time). I signed papers, asked dumb questions, made countless calls, tried different routes, dragged my feet when I shouldn’t have, sat on HOLD for hours, and organized a notebook for my paperwork.
And do you know how fulfilling it was to schedule my own surgery, push the process along, ask a hundred questions, sign my own papers, and lie in that hospital bed with the confidence to proceed? It felt so good. God provided, my parents gave freedom, and here I was feeling more like a grown up than ever before! It was such a gift.
My parents were always there. They offered their help, but they didn’t baby me or protect me from growing up. They answered my questions, but didn’t hold billboards with all the adult questions answered the easy way. They let me become an adult while giving me the freedom to be a grown-up.
I will never forget when my Dad said he would totally be fine with me marrying at 18. He obviously wasn’t going to allow me to marry a lazy punk-face, but by stating this—he communicated to me that he trusted my judgement and supported me if I chose to get married at a young age.
I didn’t have to be afraid that my Dad was siting around with a gun on his knee and a box of bullets all over the living room floor. He was going to look out for me, but he was also going to let me make my own choices and he wasn’t going to control how it all happened.
At 18, I met the man I would marry. At 19, I was engaged. At 20, I was married—all with my parents’ blessing and excitement. In these short years, they have let me grow up, make big decisions, pursue my dreams, accomplish my personal goals, and change my name. They have supported me and loved me through it all.
Of all the gifts that my parents have given me, the one I hold most dear tonight, is my freedom to be an adult. My ability to grow into this woman—Sierra Vaughn Fedorko. And I have so much more to learn, but I am full to the brim with gratitude for my parents and their truly great gift.
I am now able to welcome my parents into my home, invite them to sit on our couch, and offer them something to drink. My husband and I get to cook their breakfast, take them out to lunch, brew the coffee, make them comfortable, and show them the hospitality and love they have so long showed us.
And then we can spend hours, literally hours, just talking like friends. Believe me, I’m still gleaning wisdom from them both, but our conversations are much like those that friends have together.
These past few years have been peppered with trials and difficulties, but my parents gave me wings, and then they let me fly. I had to ask for directions and I floundered a bit, and lost a handful of feathers—but I couldn’t feel happier or be more thankful for this gift of freedom to become an adult.
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