I remember when we brought my son home, he had the squishiest face, the most delicious chin, the chubbiest thighs and the most beautiful brown eyes that had every looked at me. He was the most precious thing I had ever held, touched or seen.
I remember his “clingy” phase of not wanting anyone else but me. I was so exhausted, but he was so happy to just have me with him. I remember his first days of preschool and the crying fits he had when I left and repeated to him over and over, “Mommy always comes back.” It broke my heart to leave him, but I also knew that it was part of him growing up and that it was time.
It’s funny when you hear that phrase…It’s time. It always means that change is coming…
In first grade, he was open with his hugs and kisses. He listened to me when we went over homework and always kissed me before he got out of the car whether the door was open or not. He always eagerly told me about his day. In second grade, he was still open with his hugs in public but not so much with the kisses. He started to be aware of making sure I got my good bye kiss before the door opened. I could still get most details about his day at school. Now that he is in third grade, (9 years old), a hug in public is very rare and I can pretty much forget about getting a kiss on the cheek in front of his friends. When I ask him about his day at school, the eye rolls and the shoulder shrugs are starting to happen more often.
He does still give me hugs and kisses at home and I know he still loves me, but he is changing….and I know it is time….
My mom and my friends who have older children have told me this would happen for years, and I know that it is nothing new and has been happening for ages, but somehow when it happens to you…it feels like it is happening for the first time. I am so glad I took so many pictures of my children as they are growing up. My mom says to make sure I look at those pictures to remind myself how much I love them when they are older and testing my patience even more.
I am feeling like I am in unchartered waters as my son grows up. I was always a “girly girl” and as he grows up and is more and more interested in soccer, baseball and Cub Scouts, I feel a little bit more out of my element. Of course, my husband is there to guide him also, but I don’t want to feel like I’m missing a connection with him.
The only way I know how to deal with this is to get involved in what he is interested in…and learn as I go. So, I volunteer to be the soccer snack coordinator, the baseball snack coordinator, the Cub Scout advancement chair. Even though I was never really interested in Harry Potter before, my son was. So, we have read all of the Harry Potters books together. All these opportunities let me get to know his teammates, other parents, what he reads…it gives me a better understanding of what is happening in my son’s life. We have something in common to talk about. It is a little nerve racking and scary, but I want to continue to have things in common with my son and be involved in what he does.
My parenting has changed a bit from the “protective phase” and is moving towards the “looking from a distance” phase. It is scary, but exciting to see what kind of young man he is growing up to be. It is hard for me to stand aside sometimes and let him fail, when I was always there to protect my baby. I am still there and will help if necessary, but now it is time for him to do a bit more on his own. If it means he fails, then, he will learn from it, and will try again. I am not totally there yet, but as he changes, I will have to change as well.
For me, mothering a baby and toddler came much more naturally. I am entering into a new phase of parenting. I do not have very small ones anymore, and I need to move forward as they grow, too. Part of me feels like my son did when I left him at preschool and he was crying because he wasn’t ready for the change it would bring….but in my heart, I know it is time.
Have you been through this transition? Any tips or advice to offer?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Meredith. You can read about her adventures as an expat in Nigeria and her transition back to the U.S. in her blog www.wefoundhappiness.blogspot.com/.
Photo credit to Flickr Creative Commons