Thursday, 27 August 2009
Posted by Sarah Pellew
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...