When my boys were born, I felt an instant onus, a responsibility, a whole lifetime of putting someone else first. I never realised how constantly your brain and your heart works, worrying too much and caring enough that everything in their lives is as perfect as you expect it to be. I never knew either that as they get older, it doesn't get any easier.
As babies, it's the practicalities that keep us going. Day to day, feeding, changing, burping, washing, comforting, teaching. As they grow into toddlers, trying to hold back as they teeter, bumping into furniture. Starting school and the helpless feeling that you can't be there for them, hoping that they don't go unnoticed, that they'll make friends and behave.
Then they reach secondary school................
Your role as a mother is less clear. After years of solving their problems, of keeping a smile on their faces, of taking responsibility for the person they are to become you realise that they are becoming that person. And while they use all the information you've been passing on since they were born and they began to know who they are, you're left confused as to where you fit in. When they were younger, your intervention was welcomed and expected. But then they reach an age when they want to fight their own battles, no matter who much you feel you should get involved. Now it's their decision to fight their corner or to walk away. It's up to them to make sure they're not overlooked. They need to pick themselves up and brush themselves off when they trip up.
The growing doesn't stop..........
Finishing school, starting relationships, going out on the town, leaving home, starting families. As they go on, they feel themselves moving away from you, metaphorically. The expression is "cutting the apron strings" and they may see it that way, but they don't realise that it's only one-sided. As mothers, we still see them being as vunerable as they were new-born. We still wish we could fight their battles, make their decisions. But all the while, we're proud of the men they are becoming. Proud that they've learned who to be. Proud they're making the right decisions. And we should also be proud of what we've done, proud of the work we've put in and ready to let it go.
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