It’s been a while. My parenting role is taking a new turn. Thought I must share this, as I am a little ahead of my friends in parenting timeline being the mother of an 18-aproaching boy. He has a decent moustache, a beard that which I can only feel when I kiss him cheek to cheek, and he shaves twice a week. Neighboring girls slither past him and he romps past them. This is that stage, when you need the mom the most, yet you don’t need her doing micro, ‘irritating’ things for you. So my role is changing and suddenly I find my nerves relaxing. Initially it was a devastation! My child growing up???!!! WHY God why? Why me? My baby was so cozy in my arms, I fed him so well, I sung him all the songs I could to remember to make him sleep. I had the best parenting plans. Sleepless nights, fevers, immunizations, childhood asthma, painful styes in his eyes… first tooth, first walk, first talk, first flipping over in bed, first toothless smile on seeing me after a while. He was okay. Why did he grow up so much!! I was fine with him… carrying him in my lap and cuddling him to sleep.
I know! I know! There’s a phrase for this!!! “EMPTY-NEST SYNDROME”. The faster you can accept it, the faster you move on.
And that is why I dived deep into my motherhood self that happened almost 18 years back and scolded the mom in me always wanting to cater to her baby’s needs. “WITHDRAW!” “LEAVE HIM ALONE” ” MAKE HIM RESPONSIBLE”. “GO FIND A JOB, HE NEEDS SPACE”… space from his mom? My other half meekly protested. “YES” I growled and recited Kahlil Gibran.
“You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.”
“Once your child doesn’t need you, then you move back and relax.”
I cried alone for days. I am sad. Depressed. Frustrated. Dejected. Betrayed. Uncared for. Unloved.
At night, while relaxing on the sofa and watching the soapy soaps, I’ve often cooed him out of his den, ‘Baaammmmm’… And he too knew this was the call when Mom is at her emotional worst. He abandoned his online friends and came to me smiling. Like an ostrich, he dug his head into my lap, and knew I would be happy. In that upside-down pose, with only his head in my lap and the rest of the body sticking out like an ostrich, I am sure he too was happy. And then so many times he fell asleep in that pose.
…..I tried NOT to remember one time when he had just started to crawl… had fallen asleep on a rug…..
He too is bending backwards to help me get independent of him.
And I got independent soon. I stopped checking on his clothes, (don’t read closet), his room’s temperature at night, his food habits.
I am confident about my upbringing.
I learned to spend my times alone. With my work, thoughts, writings and business, and TV. Now I am now just a friend to my son. A roommate.
“Hi!”I ask him when he gets back home. “How was the hang out?”
And he is fast becoming an independent, self-thinking, decision-making person, I should be proud of!
……. kind of selfish to say, but him without teeth… I was much more comfortable with….
Hmmmmm……………. Lately I am feeling that I’ve formally completed motherhood…. :O
A mother of a 17-year-old