Here’s the thing, being a mother, changes who you are forever. You don’t even realize it while it’s happening. You know when they’re born that your life has been restricted but you really don’t care because you are so awed by that beautiful little bundle that’s in your arms. You raise them, make them the center of your universe, love them with all of your heart, and then they leave the nest, whether by choice or with a nudge from dad and mom. Part of you (at least part of me) is ready to see them go, to watch what they become and even to find out what I can become in this new phase of my life. Part of you (again me) doesn’t want to let go, wants a little more time to watch out for them, guide them and if at all possible protect them…..and all of me wants them to stay nearby to come home for dinner once or twice a week, to share their lives with me….well, maybe not everything, but to let me be a part of their lives.
You realize that for you there is more than just a DNA connection, they are a part of you, but THEY realize, whether consciously or not, that it’s time for them to become separate people, and no matter how close you are your relationship has to change.
And it does. Sometimes you talk to them every day, or even several times in a day. They call you to find out how much they should be spending on chicken breasts, and for the recipe for their favorite cookies. (Do you give them the recipe? Maybe they’ll come home for cookies.) They call you to find out why they put white socks and underwear in the washer and took out red….uh, it was the red sweatshirt you threw in with them. They call you to find out what to do about a parking ticket they forgot to pay. AAAHHHHH, PAY THE TICKET!!
And then you don’t hear from them for days…or even weeks, and you want to call them, but you don’t want to be clingy. Sometimes you feel your eyes well up when you accidentally set the dinner table for five, and there are only four of you, then three, then just the two of you….and you wish all of your previous little boys were at the table again.
So you pick up the phone and call……your own mother…. because maybe you haven’t been calling her enough.
Our oldest son is thirty-one years old. It’s hard for me to even say that because, of course, it isn’t true. (It’s true.) For most of the last five years he’s been in Maryland, the opposite side of the country, and a couple of weeks ago he came back home. I told myself I wouldn’t cry when I saw him. I lied, I broke down and sobbed. Actually, just writing this is making me cry. I can touch his curls again, I can hug him, I can see his beautiful smile. But of course, he isn’t unpacking his things at our house, he’s staying long enough to find a place of his own and get his girlfriend out here to be with him. He’s working full time hanging with his brothers and other friends. He was so sweet this weekend, “Mom,” he said “Would you like to plan a day for just the two of us.”
Yes, yes I would, those days are too few.
So, I’ll get him to myself even if only for a day.
Meanwhile, our youngest son moved out over the holidays. Not an easy transition, but he’s twenty-two, and we are very proud of him. He’s just a few miles away, for now, but I know he wants to travel, live other places and experience life.
Middle son is still at home, but we rarely see him, his career, takes up most of his time and attention, but I know he’ll be moving out soon too. He also plans on traveling, and it looks like with his career he probably will.
They all have so much to do, to see, to become.
And isn’t that what I want for all of them. I want them all to experience life, see what they can, have relationships with more than a few women before they find ‘the one’, so they know what they want, so they never feel like they ‘just settled’ or wonder what else could have been. Of course then in my plan they all plant their roots right here near me…. at least not too far away.
I know that none of these choices are mine, so while my heart still aches to feel their small hands in mine, answer their questions, keep them safe, I know that it’s time to let go of their hands, let them look for their own answers and be strong young men. After all, that was the point of the last thirty years.
I don’t know how to cook for two, it’s been years of cooking for a small army, and at this point, although they’re not always at the dinner table, they grab a bite when they come in, or take food ‘to go’. My still Hunky Hubby and I often find ourselves sitting at the dinner table alone. It’s not so bad, we can talk without food flying, conversations about video games, and arguments over who took too long in the shower leaving his brother with only cold water. Sometimes we even light candles and have a glass of wine.
So being a mother changes who you are forever, I will always be the mother of three handsome, talented, intelligent boys, and whether they know it or not, I will always kiss them good night before I go to bed and wish for all of their dreams to come true, no matter how far away those dreams may take them.
How has being a parent changed your life forever? What are your dreams for your children? Have you called your mother today? I have to go call mine.