Then one day my girls were teenagers, and I suddenly realized I had stopped reading parenting books. So I grabbed a couple of excellent ones to hit the hot spots on an as-needed basis.
Now that my oldest daughter has one foot out of the nest, I just finished a book unlike other parenting books. This one assumes you’ve reached your peak active parenting years, and are on the way back down.
It’s intended for fathers, but this mother benefited as well. Robert Wolgemuth wrote this one with his heart on his sleeve: She Still Calls Me Daddy: Building a new relationship with your daughter after you walk her down the aisle.
It’s a book about good-byes and new normals and “widening your embrace.”
Wolgemuth gently, but strongly, encourages parents to let go. For their daughter’s sake, their son-in-law’s sake, and their own sake.
This stage of life has a steep learning curve, and he shares some of his own mistakes, and some of his successes. Being a parent of a grown-up has a different set of challenges, but also rewards. Wolgemuth addresses both.
You used to be a prophet. But that job is history. Your daughter and her husband have different prophets now. You’ve become a priest.
But just because your child is out of the house doesn’t mean you’re finished parenting. Your role shifts to different directions. Instead of protecting your daughter in the way you used to, you abdicate that role to her husband. Your new role is to safeguard her marriage. And he recommends the best way to do that begins with understanding and loving your new son.
Realize that when you give your daughter in marriage to this younger man, you’re regifting the present that God had given to you at her birth. With no strings attached.
Truth be known, when it comes to the gift of our daughter to this man at her wedding, we totally get it. She was a gift to us in the first place. Like a priceless piece of sterling silver or crystal that you and your wife received as a wedding gift that you now freely pass along to your children, you and I are actually regifting our daughters.
She was a gift to us in the first place and so she is a gift again.
“Freely you have received, freely give.”
Each chapter of the book includes several insets with key statements that I found very helpful. Each chapter also ended with a “Remodelers Checklist” with the top 3 or 4 main points restated.
If you have an older child, I’d recommend this book as prep work to get your heart ready for changes on the horizon. They’re not always easy ones, but they can be exciting ones, not only for your child, but also for you.
Oops, gotta go. The timing is ironic as I finish this post: I hear my daughter pulling in the driveway, home for the weekend. Better enjoy these times while I can.