Their Independence is My Uncertainty: Guest Post by Wendy Scherer

Posted by on Sep 19, 2014 in aging | 9 comments

Every now and then a piece of writing grabs you by the heartstrings and won’t let go. This is one of those pieces of writing. 

In today’s post Wendy Scherer provides an important lesson about time, filling it, desiring it and being careful what you wish for. What’s your 3.0 version???

boy with suitcase on railroad

For nearly 20 years, my most important life’s focus has been to prepare my three boys for independence. A lofty goal, I admit.  There were years of carrying them around until they learned to walk and then following closely behind as they toddled and fell. There were pep talks and boo-boo kisses and Band-Aids. And there were lots of hugs and encouraging words as they started interacting with other kids. When each started preschool, I was so sad when he was gone; but the hours went quickly and each would be home soon after he left. Sure, there was crying when the carpooling started. And I cried, too, as I watched the other moms’ cars driving away. It seems that every minute of my life those days was focused on hands-on motherhood. The kids needed me (and Andrew, when he wasn’t traveling) for everything. Every. Thing.

I worked hard to give them freedom. I watched them ride their bikes until they rode out of my sight. I kissed them at the door as they left for the neighborhood tot lot. And soon, elementary school started and the days were longer. But they needed me after school. And on the weekends and evenings, they needed rides – and cheerleaders – for sports and activities.They were branching out a little. But, I had a lot of their attention, their time, and their cuddles.

When they started going to summer camp, the weeks were long without them. But they came back and I felt needed as I washed the clothes they wore doing things I only vaguely knew about and I felt joy and a mild ache as I heard tales of the new friends whose parents I didn’t know. It was starting. The independence. I wanted it for them, and yet, it terrified me. At night, I wondered and worried and hoped for the strength to know how to guide them and teach them while allowing them the space they needed to grow.

Fast forward – in a blink of an eye – more than 19 years have passed since my first son was born. He is now at college. In his second year. I’m sure he’s making good choices, but I have NO IDEA where he is most of the time. The other two boys are busy. They have active lives in BBYO. They eat dinner with us – most days – but then, they’re gone doing homework or stage crew or eco club or whatever they do. When their chores and school obligations are complete (and admittedly sometimes when they’re not), the boys are all about being social and, since our middle son has his driver’s license, they have some real freedom.

It’s not that they never need us. They do need us when they’re sick or overwhelmed or have something on their minds or when they need new clothes. Or when they’re hungry. But all this has led to a really big change for me.

I have time.

Until recently, I filled that extra time with work. I love my work and I love my clients. I can always think of new ways to do more and better for them and it could fill every waking moment.  But it’s just not right. And as much as I love my clients, work is not enough.  All these years, I’ve wanted more time. More time. And now, I have it. So what to do?

Swim more. I love my swim time. Golf lessons – I don’t know if it’s my thing but I know I love that I can try.  Enjoy our marriage – we’ve waited for this time with baited breath and it’s great, but still a little weird and hard to find my balance.  It’s a huge shift. It’s like the opposite of nesting. I’m preparing for the next stage – the stage when it’s just me and Andrew and I’m finding who I want to be; what I want to do. I always want to be a mom to by boys. It’s my heart. But I have the chance to be me again, only better and more seasoned and more free.

It’s Wendy 3.0.

It’s a little shocking, actually. It’s not as if I didn’t know they’d grow up because, of course, everyone knows that happens. But, as I’ve said for years, the days are long but the years are short and here we are… with our kids almost leading their own lives. Our evil plan of teaching them independence worked. And now, I’m paying the price and trying to figure out how to not be needed.

Stay tuned.


  1. 9-19-2014

    The natural order sometimes feels anything but natural. This, as everything you write, is so on! I love this. And you are doing great! You are fortunate to have a solid marriage and many interests. It gets easier, I promise. They will always need you, just differently. And funny, but you find you need them and they rise to the occasion when you do. All that hard work of parenting comes back to you tenfold.

    • 9-19-2014

      Thanks, Amy! I’ve been watching you and feel lucky to have someone forge the path while I peek in… Yes I know it’ll be fine. Change is…. change! xo

  2. 9-19-2014


    As we grew up Our Moms let us be independent at a young age We were the Latch Key Kids. As a Mom I wanted to keep my kids ina bubble to keep them safe. As it is our Daughters 4th anniversary I to have the
    time to do WHAT? All I know is that my 2 Kids are great people who I hope have a lot to share with the world as for you and Andrew and this time you have Use it wisely cause time is passing dont waste it
    Love ya Wendy beautiful piece. Heidi

    • 9-19-2014

      Heidi – thank you – you’re so right we all need to choose wisely. So happy (and so not surprised) that your grown kids are happy and wonderful. I hope you’re recovering and feeling back to yourself. I’m traveling a lot the next few weeks but want to get that meeting to really happen. Hugs! ~Wendy

    • 9-19-2014

      Heidi – thank you – you’re so right we all need to choose wisely. So happy (and so not surprised) that your grown kids are happy and wonderful. I hope you’re recovering and feeling back to yourself. I’m traveling a lot the next few weeks but want to get that meeting to really happen. Hugs! ~Wendy

  3. 9-19-2014

    Thank you Wendy, this touched me deeply! The push-pull of life, time passing, new adventures …

    • 9-19-2014

      Here’s to new adventures, Gail!

  4. 9-20-2014

    Wendy – You have captured my thoughts & feelings exactly. Your oldest and youngest are the same ages as mine. I’ll be Karen 3.0 if I may borrow from you!

    • 9-20-2014

      Absolutely, you can be Karen 3.0 🙂
      It’s really hard to believe we’re at this point. Thanks for reading (and if you don’t regularly read Flashfree, add it to your list! Lots of great content here!) ~Wendy

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