Thursday, 27 August 2009

A brave new world...


I am entering a new world. It is a land that I knew was on the horizon, and have been preparing for, but its a strange and bewildering place...


Let me explain... I have been a mum now for eleven and a half years. To be honest I am not particularly good at it and have struggled with post natal depression to start with and then just downright misery further on because being a parent is hard bloody work. But through all this time I have been very protective...


Some might say over protective. They would be right. I watched a family holiday video in horror and saw myself, not as the glamorous woman I though I was, but as a plump, worried mother, scurrying after my first born, ready to catch him if he fell, ready to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre if he choked, ready to ... well, ready to do anything to keep him from harm. Not a pretty sight. If I was someone else looking at me... well, I would have loathed me... an irritating woman indeed.


But now the time has come for my first born to fly. He starts secondary school in a week and a half.For the last year my plan has been to wean him off the comfortable family life. I have let him walk home from the local shops by himself, let him make cups of tea, cook noodles and stay up late. I have sent him on little errands, bought him a mobile phone and done all I could to make him independent. The last thing he needs when he goes to his new school is a mum waving tearfully from the gate.


But a stage has arrived that I had not anticipated coming so soon... friends. Friends calling for him on their bikes, asking him to come out. And when faced with this what can you do? You can't say "Oh, no... he's my baby and I don't want him to die on the road on his bike! I don't want him out with you... alone! " Because that would be hideously embarrassing for him. So I say "Oh, yes, sure! Take your phone and be back by 4pm Have a great time!"


Its odd, because it has come so quickly. One minute he was 3 and here and I had to do everything. The next minute, he's 11 and I have to trust that those 11 years have taught him something. I have to trust that he will be ok. I have to believe that he is intelligent and sensible and that he will be ok.


But I feel odd. I can't quite believe the time has come and its too late now to quickly train him up in the ways of the world. He has to learn for himself and he will make mistakes. But I suppose those mistakes will be the making of him and his character. From the minute he was born he has been preparing for this moment and keeping him wrapped in cotton wool won't do any good at all. He knows right from wrong. He knows the path I would like him to take. But that fact won't make him take it... He is his own person and the best thing I can do is let him go, let him learn and grow.


But I do feel strange. When he was born people told me that the time would fly by and to make the most of him being young. I didn't believe them - I longed for him to be grown up and thought it would never come. But here we are... A new country, new landscape, through which we are feeling our way. I am scared that he will get hurt in some way, but I know that I have done all I can to help him make the journey safely. The rest is up to him...

10 comments:

Kerrie said...

I don't think you sound like anything to loath, I think you sound like a really good mum.
One of the reasons I have never had any children, is I just don't think I am cut out for being a mum and there are many children in this world whose parents should never have had them. I certainly don't think you are one of those.
women often say to me they find it hard to let go of their children and get empty nest syndrome but I have neve known any different and I assure them there is lots of fun to be had without children in the house.
make the most of your while you can but don't morn their growing up, as this is just as it should be.

Kork said...

I think you sound like a perfectly normal Mum...we all have our moments of "Smotherhood", "Otherhood" and the balanced moments of "Motherhood"...and I cannot imagine being ready for Captain Chaos to be in primary school...I'm freaking out that in only 2 weeks from today, he'll have completed his very first day of "real" school! YIKES!

I imagine it must be really frightening to realize that all that you've done and said and taught for 11 years will show through as he's off and on his own more and more...but I'm sure that you and your husband did a fabulous job and that he'll make you proud, even along with the mistakes that may come.

Lots of happy thought and hugs sent your way!

Gail said...

My granny would say, he has good metal in him and it will come out.
Meaning not to worry, his common sense will follow him.

Urban Cynic said...

Don't worry; He'll be round the back of the bike sheds smoking crack before you know it!

Sophia said...

Lovely lady...you sound like a WONDERFUL mum. And it is normal for you to have those thoughts. Any CARING mum would. Hang in there. You are going to see some really great days ahead with him. :D

Karen said...

Boy, do I know this feeling. Mine are now 16 and nearly 11 - my youngest being a boy. We've had friends calling by on their bikes and it scares me to death. Our area is so bad with traffic and I have a hard time walking him anywhere myself to think about letting him go by bike. Overprotective - maybe, but I'm not ready to let him fly solo just yet. We've got another year before secondary school to practice. Baby steps.....

Matthew said...

I went through all of this with my now-wife, watching as she adapted to her baby boy getting bigger and moving his life on.

I think you always worry - the focus just shifts as time passes.

For what that's worth...

Urban Cynic said...

That was a joke by the way...!

Sarah said...

Thank you for your nice comments everyone - and Urban Cynic, you and I obviously have the same sense of humour as you made me laugh out loud!Don't worry, I knew it was a joke!!!S

bb mcclain said...

I feel for you. I felt the same when my girls grew up (too fast). It doesn't seem possible that they have kids of their own now.