I recently read a blog post where the writer says she doesn’t miss any of the stages of her children’s lives. I think she enjoyed the stages while she was in them, but she’s glad that they’re grown. She “[doesn’t] understand mothers who grieve every step of their children’s growing up. [She doesn’t] get the tears at the kindergarten door or the angst at the driver’s license test. The weeping at graduation baffles [her]. The whole point of being a parent is to raise kids, not keep them as pets.”
I have to disagree with her and thought my blog was a better place to do it than hers. Certainly, our children aren’t pets and we all want them to grow up to be independent, well-adjusted adults who thrive in life. I want my children to be responsible. That’s why they have chores and my fifteen year-old just found out he’ll be getting a job this summer, much to his dismay.
But I cried when my youngest stepped onto the bus for Kindergarten and I cried when my oldest graduated from eighth grade and I got misty eyed two months later when I dropped him off at high school orientation and for sure I’ll weep like a baby when he graduates from high school and yes, I will feel angst when he starts driving. That doesn’t make me a helicopter parent. It makes me a parent. Plain and simple.
My children’s highs are my highs and their lows are my lows. I’ve invested a lot of time and energy into this job I call “Mom.” My daughter has been sick since December and it keeps me up at night and when she’s finally well you can bet I’ll be shedding a tear. Doesn’t mean I don’t want her to clean her room. And doesn’t mean I don’t want her to grow into the amazing, independent woman I know she’ll be.
I feel sorry for this author whose heart doesn’t seem to be fully invested into those times. She had a task to do and by golly, she was going to complete it. Check your emotions at the door.
Maybe I wear my emotions like a badge of honor, I don’t know, but I know I have them. And I know I love my children more than anything on this planet. Why wouldn’t I be engaged in their milestones?
Of course, I want my children to grow up and take on the world and make all their dreams come true. I applaud my son’s interest in music and my daughter’s interest in theater. Not easy career choices, but I would never stop them from taking it on. It’s their lives and they must live them.
I don’t long for days of diapers and tying shoes, but I know I will miss my kids when they go because they are mine for only a short time and for years all I’ve done is be there for them. I will have to reinvent some of myself when they go.
And maybe that is why I cry sometimes. Who will I be when they leave? And will they think of me from time to time? Will they roll their eyes when I call them? When they were little there was no question about their love for me. And there may not be any question of love when they are adults, but they won’t be mine when that time comes. And they shouldn’t be. Is it wrong to miss their warm embrace? Those chubby hands clasped in yours? Their laughter ringing through out the house?
The tears aren’t just because you mourn the loss of another stage in their lives. The tears are because you’re so proud of your child and all that they accomplish. Because you can’t believe that amazing person belongs to you. You, the impostor, You, whose father abandoned you, You, with all your flaws made a child filled with the best of you.
I will bring my tissues proudly when my daughter graduates eighth grade this year. I might cry a little harder because this has been a tough time for her. My heart soars at every football game when my son marches on the field in his band uniform pounding on his drum. And I will be biting my nails and praying to God above to keep him safe as he earns his driver’s permit this summer.
I don’t check my emotions at the door. They’re tucked in my pockets, around my neck, and dangling from my ears. I am a Mom. Today and everyday.