I hadn't originally planned to post this on Mother's Day but I think that maybe it's fitting.
I read a post by guest bloggers Mary Dell and Lisa (blog Grown and Flown) on the Scary Mommy site recently entitled “The Myth of Protection” that really affected me. Here is the link so you can check out the whole post (instead of just taking my paraphrasing and interpretation) – http://www.scarymommy.com/the-myth-of-protection/
In a nutshell, they spoke about how no matter how hard we try, the protection that we offer our children is really not much more than an illusion. We feed them healthy food, give them safe toys to play with, choose “safe” neighborhoods in which to raise and educate them and vet potential care-givers with a thoroughness that the CIA would envy. Then we hear about tragedies like the loss of so many fragile lives in Newtown and the eight year old in Boston and we realize that no matter how careful we are, fate sometimes has other plans. We know this but our children live on in the happy belief that we will keep them safe. It is their unconditional love and faith in us that helps us move past these tragedies that we see in the news and carry on.
The author of the post speaks of the fact that her children are grown up now and have moved past the unconditional belief in her protection; they’ve grown up. She laments that this last piece of childhood has dropped away.
I commented that this post felt like a punch in the gut to me that left me in tears. My kids are twelve and fourteen now and are at the age where they are starting to pull away and enjoy more independence - The Boy at fourteen more than Drama Queen at twelve. No longer can I hover over them and make all the decisions. No longer do I know exactly where they are and who they are with every second of the day. They are in high school now where the teachers don’t tend to have the kids under their thumbs as much as they do in elementary school. They are starting to spread their wings and not depend on me as much as they did just a few short years ago and it’s so hard to let go.
Could this be a part of the difficult time that I’ve been going through lately? Quite possibly. I hadn’t really thought about it before now; before I read that post. I love my children more than anything and love the fact that they are growing into incredible, smart, funny, good human beings. I wouldn’t change them for anything. That being said, I am sad that they no longer want me to read to them at bedtime; that my daughter wants to do her own hair now; that my son no longer wants to cuddle with me. Of course, he’s five inches taller than me now so I guess that cuddling would be awkward. I still miss it though.
How long will it be before they are no longer able to believe that their father, step-mother and I can’t protect them from the bad things in this world? How long before they see us as regular people making our way in this world, flaws and all? Who knew that I’d be going through so much angst at 43?
I can only be thankful that they are here and healthy (knock on wood) and that their lives are as good as we can make them (again, knock on wood) so that we can grow together through their adolescent years. We will go through the growing pains of their adolescence together and, hopefully, will all come out better people for it with only the occasional bumps and bruises.