Growing Up is Hard to Do.
Our children, we try to protect them until they get old enough to protect themselves. At least that's what we tell ourselves when they are little tiny bundles of humanity held in our arms as infants.
We really believe, I really believed, that there would be a gradual letting go. As they mature and do more things, like date and drive, you convince yourself that you are watching them grow up and become the men they were meant to be independent of you. For the most part that is true. But every once in a while they take or make noticeable giant steps, and before we can blink a significant moment has passed.
I don't think I'm that different than most parents. While we want to let our kids be whoever they are meant to be...to be happy, we also want them to get the grades we think they should get; go the the college or university we think they should go to; and, become someone not too different from what we ourselves are. We do this so we can still reach out, touch and understand this little being who has now grown into a man or woman. We want them to grow and do and be...just not too far away from us. : )
Letting go just isn't that easy. Letting your child truly be who they are...warts and all...and loving them in that place isn't easy. Especially if you believe you see other gifts and talents you would like them to nuture and grow. So how much do you push? Sometimes they want you to decide things for them. Sometimes they want you to say "no". Being a Mother is by far the hardest thing I've ever done. While it brings me great joy, love and laughter, my parenting has also been the source of my greatest challenges, worry and heartache. My husband and I spend alot of time trying to figure this whole parent thing out.
This past weekend has been a new challenge. Last Friday my son's 15 year old friend was killed in a traffic accident. It was a devasting shock to him and all their mutual friends. My son switches from numb disbelief to anger and back again. He has been nervous and anxious. Tomorrow is the funeral.
It isn't the first time his life has been touched by death by someone close. Last year in the space of 10 months he lost both his grandmothers and his 45 year old uncle. The difference was they were lots older and everyone of them had a prolonged illness. This sudden death he just doesn't understand. Both my husband and I did not have the exposure to people close in our life who were sick for prolonged periods of time and died. Neither did we have a sudden death in our lives like both our sons have experienced. We were at a loss on how it feels to experience something like this at so young an age. So you talk, you love up on 'em, and cry with them and talk some more...
So while I'm talking to cute E-mo kid about loss and letting go, I'm letting go of him a little bit more too. Seeing and knowing that I am not the heart or only place he turns to now in sorrow. I share him with his girlfriend and school friends. It's the way it's supposed to be, and I am so glad he has all these other people in his life. I really am. It is hard not to wish I could pick him up and hold him like I did when he was small and be the place and person who makes it all right for him. And while I know we will always have a good relationship and be a part of each other's lives, I'm watching him take some more steps away from me and toward becoming a man.