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Alan Wildes

Alan Wildes

Parenting Moment #1: Moving Back Home

The events that followed March 13, 2020 have changed all of us. No exceptions. There is no way anyone could experience the Corona craziness without being forever changed in some way.

Pam and I are certainly not exempt from that. There are so many struggles she and I have dealt with in the past 14 months but there have certainly been blessings. One of those blessings is our relationship with our now 20 year old son; Jackson.

When he came home from college during his freshman year for Christmas in 2019 things didn’t go so well. He wanted to keep his college freedoms of coming and going as he pleased and staying up/out as late as he wanted. That wreaked havoc on his parent’s sleeping patterns but it went deeper than interrupted sleep. We avoided the big blow up but Pam and I knew we would have to have a better game plan moving forward.

I remember my first Christmas home in my freshman year and I felt just like Jackson did. However, as an adult I found myself reacting much more like my parents did rather than empathizing with Jackson.

When Jackson went back to college in January 2020 Pam and I knew that our relationship with Jackson had changed and a better living arrangement needed to be created before he came home in the summer of 2020. Well, we all know what happened in March 2020. Our strategy planning was pushed up a few months.

Jackson never went back to school after he left for Spring Break in 2020 other than to get his stuff. He decided to transfer to MTSU in the middle of quarantine and life was crazy to say the least for him and us.

The days of March and April 2020 shaped our relationship with our son forever. We sat down and talked about things from each other’s perspectives. All of us tried to understand each other’s points of view and we came to a mutually agreed upon plan moving forward.

The details of the plan are not the point. What Pam and I clearly saw in our son for the very first time was he was no longer a boy. His maturity and ‘adult’ thinking was pretty incredible. Pam and I also saw clear evidence for the first time that our adult son was going to be someone we will be friends with forever.

Empathy is what I have learned most during Covid. It started with my son. For that I am thankful and I don’t think it would have happened without Covid. I am not thankful for Covid but I am thankful for what it forced upon our relationship with Jackson. It was truly a blessing.

PS: Parenting is hard.

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