I believe it is more than okay for you to enjoy being with your teen-aged children and for them to enjoy being with parents/family.
I believe it is more than okay for siblings to be best friends.
Often I feel these two thoughts are in direct opposition to the societal thoughts around me. I recently told someone (30 something; married then without children) about my pending trip to Europe with my two daughters (19 years, 17 years). We started talking about traveling and she asked me if I would ever consider letting my kids really travel. I was puzzled by her comment because the conversation started with my saying the girls and I were heading to Europe together. Well, there in lies the rub - it wasn't really traveling in her mind unless they go off on their own (or perhaps the two together) to "really travel".
We have homeschooled since Sarah was 8 going on 9, Jenn was 6 going on 7 and Josh was 2. We have been at this now for 13 years though the girls are now continuing their education at institutions of higher learning. I do believe that a huge reason we as a family can "dance" so well together is because we have spent so much time together. Whether we are on a road trip or working out in the yard or side by side in the kitchen, we know how to work well together. We anticipate the others' needs; we can read the others' moods and concerns; we just know how to navigate this thing called life together.
Often it seems that others are concerned that my children still enjoy being and doing with their parents/the family unit. I firmly believe they will someday find their way on their own (and indeed the girls are both taking major steps in that direction) but I am also not concerned that they still want to be a part of the nest we have built over the years. I firmly believe that they will someday find other kindred spirits and perhaps a life partner but I am also not concerned that they still call their siblings their best friends. That seems such a difficult choice for this society to accept.
As an adult, I have friends who scan the globe - kindred spirits, some I have not even met except through internet connections, that sustain me through life's ups/downs. But my best friend, my closest kindred spirit/soul sister is my blood sister who is 5 yrs younger than I am and who lives now about 350 miles away from me (till our recent move it was more like 1200 miles away from me). She is the one person I know I could call on through thick/thin who would absolutely be there for me/mine if I would ever need that. There are others I share deeply with but she it is who knows all my flaws and still loves me, knows many of my past secrets and still loves me, cares as deeply as I about our relationship to continue to work at it even though miles and sometimes philosophies separate us. She it is who understands intimately what the loss of our parents meant even as we tried to reconcile some of our family of origin foibles. She it is who knows how to challenge yet support me on the journey even when our paths have diverged on parenting issues, religious issues, politics. Why wouldn't I hope for that same kind of relationship to blossom and bloom over the years of the lives of my children?
I think homeschooling allows you to really get to know your children and they in turn really get to know you. I think it gives you time together to learn the dance so that you find yourselves enjoying each other's company. I think it gives your children the opportunity to get to really know each other and work through differences because of the sheer volume of time they spend together.
My girls just finished their first year pursuing higher education outside the home. One chose to attend a school in New York far from our MO home. She did not attend many sleepovers as a young child and she still prefers to be close to home/family. Though the transition to be far away from family was difficult she navigated it just fine getting herself a job, making her own food (the dorm on campus offers room but no board), dealing with her own finances as well as juggling a full load of classes. Though she doesn’t particularly like to fly, she got herself to/from the airport and flew by herself to get home for the various holidays. Her sister chose to attend school closer to home but she still dived into college life becoming active in several student organizations so that as she goes into her sophomore year of college she is in leadership positions on campus. Though she never liked to be far from home as a child, she went off to Costa Rica for a 3 week study abroad opportunity living with a host family and exploring a foreign country. When school was done, the two of them spent several days in New York City together sans their parents/brother.
So the answer to that woman’s question about if we would let them really travel is an unequivocal "yes". Travel they did this past year and relished every minute of it while learning a great deal about themselves. Yet, we are also thoroughly enjoying our summer with all five of us once again living, working and playing together.
Cyndie Kimball lives and learns with her busy 3 (21 yrs, 19 yrs, 14 yrs) in the heartland of MO. She is a budding fiber artist with more ideas in her head than ever come to fruition.