The Only Constant in Life is …

I know you’ve heard it before – the only constant in life is change. Nothing stays the same.

Consider that most of us started out our adult lives in basement suites or tiny apartments, graduated to something bigger when we could afford it, then finally to a house when we needed it for space for children and/or pets and/or toys. As we get older we start to offload stuff we don’t use or need as our lives change – clothes, appliances, furniture.

Most of us that have children started out with one, probably added one or a few (or many) more. They change on a daily basis – learn to sit, crawl, stand, walk, run, speak – they become more and more independent – which brings me to the present.

Our first four children learned to drive, that is to say they had their learner’s permits and spent time behind the wheel, while they were at home, but since the rule has always been that I would pay the percentage of their insurance equal to their grade average in school, most of them declined to get their driver’s license while they were at home. Read that as – their grades were generally not stellar or they had no source of income and didn’t want to get jobs. They preferred to rely on public transit since it’s cheaper and the bus stops just a block from our house.

Child #5 got her license while she lived at home. She had a part-time job and was glad to pay her portion of the insurance since her grades were pretty good. She was always a little more (who am I kidding – a lot more!) independent. I was glad for it since she was a dancer and her lesson schedule was nuts.

Child #6, just got his driver’s license at the age of almost 19. I’m glad he waited and equally glad he’s got it now, although his timing could not have been worse. For his first solo trip I let him use my car to go to work since he had a late shift and would not be off ‘til 10:30 PM. That afternoon it started snowing and blowing. He’s been driving for three years on his learner’s permit. He had driven in winter. He’s driven in blinding rain storms on narrow mountain roads – so please tell me why I was nervously texting him at 10:15 with instructions to drive slowly, be alert, and call us if he had any problems enroute or didn’t think he could handle it, and to wake me up when he got home. I mean, really, what 19-year-old is going to admit, “Mom, I don’t think I can drive the 8K to get home” regardless of the conditions? He got home safe and sound. I didn’t fall asleep until after he knocked on my bedroom door.

In the same breath, Child #7 (yes, The Baby), got a part-time job. She’s already in love with the freedom having an income brings. Her first paycheque got divvied up to pay tithing and buy Christmas presents. She came home after an afternoon at the mall with her girlfriend (not an uncommon event) and proudly showed me the gifts she had bought, explaining the bargains she found. This child, age almost 17, needed a bank account her paycheques could be direct deposited to. While we were at the bank opening her ‘chequing account’, our new account manager offered her a credit card. (Our recently-retired account manager would never have done that without talking it over with me first.) I immediately jumped in. Not happening. Uh-uh. No way! This child has never had a debit card before. In whose right mind would it make sense to give her a credit card before she’s had any money-handling experience at all? Veto. Veto. Veto. The credit card will come in a year or two, I’m sure, but not until Child #7 has mastered her debit card and self-imposed saving.

So, change is inevitable. I kind of knew it since our first five children have flown the coop. They do grow up – something I never had taken time to envision for these last two.They are becoming more and more independent. Those of you who are older (read that as more experienced, having gone through this already) are probably chuckling, but I’ll bet you remember days when your children were younger when you wondered if it would ever happen. The vision of being an empty nester is becoming more real. Yet one more example of the only constant in life.

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