When A Mother Comes to the End of the Road

Well, my youngest turns seventeen a month from today.  Though he has another year until he’s an official ‘adult’, my son has an independent streak Grand-Canyon wide.  He’ll probably be graduating early, next January, and he wants to take off when he turns eighteen and be on his own.  And it’s fine with me.  I know that he has what it takes to take care of himself.  He is a very smart kid; perhaps too smart at times.  He’s in all the advanced placement classes in school.  He always scores well on his report cards, and this isn’t to brag.  I’m just so proud of him, for all that he does and for all that he still can become.

I still remember having to hold his hand back in first grade, to cross the street.  I stood with him and his older brother on the school playground waiting for the bell to ring.  We were newly arrived in the area and the boys didn’t have any friends at the time.  I remember the trust he had for me, knowing that I would do everything in my power to keep him and his older brother safe.  I hope that he felt loved by his mother.  I pray that he knew I’d move Heaven and hell to protect them both.  Yes.  Great is a mother’s love.

Now he has his own life.  His own world.  Which, frankly, breaks my heart at times.  It’s hard for a mom to be replaced by outside influences; girlfriends, video games, friends, school, etc..  Oftentimes I miss that special time we used to spend together just the two of us, going places and just talking.  I miss the talking.  Yes. We still do that sporadically.  Now he has other people to confide in, to share his life with; his hopes and dreams and goals.

Being a parent is an awesome responsibility but well worth the risks and the heartaches it can bring.  The heartache of a son who is no longer just your own, but belongs to the world.  A world that you see as a terribly frightening place, full of pain and betrayal and frustration.  But I know it’s not all gloom and doom.  There are joys and triumphs.  Life is what you make of it.  You can greet each day with peace or you can greet it with a heavy heart.  But it’s each individual’s choice – rainbows or storm clouds?

But what I want most for my sons, as any good mother(or father) would want, is for them to be happy where they are at.  To make the best out of a bad situation when they approach.  To take the good with the bad and to understand that dark days do not last forever.  That heartache is only temporary.  That time does heal.  That life can be beautiful in spite of all the crap that goes on in this world on a daily basis.  But most of all, to remember that they have a mother who loves them no matter what.  Unconditional love for the sons that she bore, that she gave life to, brought screaming into this crazy world.

Would they have wanted to turn around and go back in if they knew what a mess life can be?  Wouldn’t we all?  Well, not literally, of course.  But as a child you are kept safe and warm from danger, if you are brought up in a loving family.  Unfortunately, I know that’s not always the case.  But a child must feel loved to grow and to prosper and to become a success in life.  Give them a sense of security.  Hold them.  Love them.  Calm them when it is needed.  As they grow, life becomes more complicated.  In school they are either accepted by the group or ostracized.  It can be painful to bear after being coddled at home.  But let them know that they are not alone, that you’ve got their back.

Let your children know, as well, how proud of them you are.  It takes only a moment to convey this message to them.  It can leave a lasting effect, though.  Children are a gift from God, at least that’s how I see it as.  Thank you, God, for allowing me to become a mom.  I couldn’t be happier.  Someday I know that they will come back around and we will be friends.  Thank you, sons, for calling me Mom.  My greatest challenge and my greatest achievement.

Letting Go

If you are a parent, especially a parent of a teenager, you will understand.  I have two sons, one who is nineteen and one who is sixteen.  And though one is an official adult and the other almost an adult, I still cannot cut those apron strings.  Why?  Because it is hard to let go.  The love a mother has for her children, especially if they are sons, is deeply rooted and unending.  No matter how old they get, or how far away they will move, I will always worry and wonder what they are up to.

Life as a parent is funny that way.  Never a dull moment when they are with you, and never a moment of peace when they are not.  I am especially having a difficult time of letting my younger son go.  When he was younger, we used to do many things together.  I enjoyed his company, and still do.  Just don’t tell him that.  I might cause unending bouts of embarrassment for him.  Being sixteen and all, you know.

But he is, a very independent young man.  When he was only eight or nine he had wanted to be off on his own already.  I laughed then, but worry now as he is approaching the age when he can legally leave and be off on his own.  I’d miss him deeply.  I’m not sure how far away he wants to go, but he has stated that when he turns eighteen that he is leaving home.  And that hurts me.  Because I love him and don’t want him to go.

Is it wrong for a parent not to want her children to leave the nest?  Oh I know that is part of our job as parents to get them to eventually leave the nest and be independent of us.  But it is so hard to do.  I’ll miss his laugh, his smile, the times we sit and talk, and yes, even his stubbornness.  My eyes well up with tears when I imagine that heart-wrenching goodbye when he packs his things up and heads out the front door for the last time.  My son, my heart, my life.

When you are carrying them in your womb, you imagine a lot what the child will be like.  When my younger son was little, I tried picturing him what he would be like as a teenager.  And he did not disappoint!  But I love him unconditionally, though at times when he is fighting with his older brother I want to smack them both!  Why is it so hard for siblings to get along?

Okay, enough of my rant.  Children are a gift.  Each one with their own unique personalities and looks.  So different in many ways yet so similar when part of a family.  I love my sons.  I hope that they know that.  I hope that I’ve always shown it.  And I hope that when they are out there in this big, intimidating world that they will remember that they have a mother at home that will always worry for them, always love them, and will always cherish her precious memories of her two young men.  I hope they know, too, of how proud I am of them.  Mom loves you both.  Stay safe.

Parenthood – The real oldest profession in the world

Parenting is not for the faint-hearted.  It is not a job to be taken on lightly.  It is a lifetime commitment – there’s never any time-card to punch out at the end of the day.  Face it, you are on-duty 24/7, like it or not.  Parenting can be a mind-numbing, insomnia-producing, hand-wringing job.  Always worrying if you are doing something wrong.  Does my child’s fever warrant a doctor’s visit?  Why are they crying, fussing, sleeping too much, or not enough?  Why is my little angel projectile vomiting, and me waiting for the head to start spinning around?  And how does such a tiny, fragile creature create so much poop?

And once the child become fully locomotive, forget about ever relaxing again.  And showering?  Well, just get used to spritzing on quite a bit of body spray.  I’m sure that no one will notice.  (Why are those people moving away from me?)  And don’t forget the constant changing of diapers, washing tiny outfits that your little one quickly outgrows, and need to purchase bigger sizes.  And someone please tell me how such tiny outfits and shoes cost so much money?

But the rewards are there.  Your child’s first toothless grin, how their eyes light up whenever you enter the room, and those tiny arms wrapped snugly around your neck, and their first “I-love-you”‘s.  Ah, that is worth the price of admission alone.  And let’s face it, the making of the child was the easy part, and quite honestly the most enjoyable part.  After that it’s all work and no play(well, at least for dad anyway).  But don’t worry men, it gets better for you too.

Then come the school years:  instruments yearning to be played, parent-teacher conferences, holiday concerts, plays, class parties, teacher gifts, and the projects that need to be handed in TOMORROW.  And oh let’s not forget those memorable teen years.  First date, first job, first car.  Endless arguments over curfews, when to go to bed, when to wake up in the morning, when to do homework.  And don’t even count how many “I-hate-you”‘s you get in one day.  Suddenly, you are the mean one, strict one, uncool one, not-understanding one:  it seems like such a thankless time during those years.  But hang in there, mom and dad, it does get better.

And yes, I would do it all over again.  Why, you may ask?  Because I’m crazy…about my children.  They are my life, my love, my pride and joy, and though there isn’t any monetary payment, I am thankful for the opportunity to raise my children.  Each day is an adventure, whatever stage of life they are in.  One more thing, don’t get me started on teaching them how to drive….that’s another story in itself!