Well, it’s here. The summer where my son grows up and gets his own life. The moment I have dreaded since he was born. I know, I know, he’s only 12, cut the drama, Karm. But in the last few weeks, there has been a distinct change in how he is spending his time, as well as in his behavior. He’s gone…for hours at a time. Friends, fishing, bike riding, hiking, ice cream stops, all good stuff. I can’t say he’s been irresponsible one bit, calling to check in when asked, home on time, no mischief to report (at least not yet!). He’s learning, growing, and having fun. But I see what’s coming, and I’m not ready. This independence thing is happening before my eyes, and I feel my baby slipping away…..
Yes, we are supposed to raise our children to be independent, good humans. That is the goal. It’s what we sign up for. But no one can explain how it’s going to feel when it actually happens, when you’re job is done. Now I know I’ve got some time yet, but I see the writing on the wall, and I don’t want to read it. At the same time, he’s barreling twenty miles an hour ahead of me, very occasionally looking back to see if I’m still here.
The Sweetest Days
I know of moms who’ve had trouble finding their identities once their babies left the nest. That’s not me. I have a big life. I have plenty to do and I’m pretty sure that won’t change. My husband and I actually like each other, so we’re already ahead of a lot of people. But I miss him already. I miss his little boy features that are just starting to morph. His little nose and chubby fingers. The way he still wants to snuggle with us. These have been the sweetest years of my life and I honestly don’t want them ever to end.
I do want my son to see me having a life and being independent, as opposed to me being needy and hanging on to his every word. When I was contemplating early retirement a few years back, one of my girlfriends insisted I keep working so that my son could see his mom as a successful professional. What a concept. I was only thinking about spending more time with him. This is why girlfriends are important in life. 😉
Perhaps part of my worry is rooted in fear. Fear of the awful things that can happen, that I can’t protect him from. Tragedy. Drugs. Illness. I swear, I will fall apart. Yet I know mothers who’ve been through those things and they have survived. Even turned those tragedies into something positive. But our world can be a frightening place and yes, I’m very afraid.
Of course, most of all I want my son to be happy, successful and to find someone to share his life with. But if he could stay 12 and live with us forever, I’d be OK with that too.
Is this an older mom thing. Or a having an only child thing? Have you experienced the same? Have you lived through it? I would love to hear your thoughts.
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There is definitely a different kind of bond between an “only” and their mother. It’s as though they are a beautiful and difficult project you have accepted and at the end you get to see the fruits of your labor but are rewarded with distance and memories and loneliness. What a strange dichotomy it is to want, with all your heart, for them to be independent and yet crave the pride and joy you get from their dependence. I feel what you feel. I FEEL what you feel. Reading what you wrote lets me know that someone else feels what I feel. I have to actually repeat to myself – like a mantra – look forward. Move forward. Be glad and look ahead. Thank you, Karm.
I will try your mantra! Sometimes I like to wallow in the sadness of it all too though. We can cry together in a few years! So much comfort in knowing we’re not alone. Thank you, Mary Beth ❤️
Karm— ahhhhh!! I’m right here with you. It’s a bittersweet symphony this life isn’t it? I try to stay grounded in these moments but it’s so hard not to look back at the picture with them on the playground in Montessori and long for those days, or look ahead to the almost unbearable thought of him leaving for good- although that’s the very definition of success as a parent and what I want most for him. Ugh, it’s hard. Thanks for putting it into words so beautifully.
Thanks for sharing and commenting Susan, good to know I’m not alone! 😭 xo Karm