I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and I’ll probably just keep on talking about it so bear with me!): it’s a strange and bittersweet road of watching my child become more independent. I remember when my child was a newborn, the feeling that if he was away from me I would just stop breathing. If he died? I would die. I would just stop breathing. That’s how interdependent and synergistic the mom/newborn relationship was for me. Slowly over the first few months I could tolerate being in a different room from him. And slowly, over almost three years I can tolerate having him in preschool four days per week. We are securely attached. We are both wildly social animals who thrive with some time apart to carry on our own conversations and return to each other with stories to tell.
From what I’ve seen via friends and strangers, the single mom/baby relationship can be more intense than the experience of having to “share” from day one. There is no one to share the bond with, the decisions with, the hopes and dreams. But also no one to hold him for five minutes while I pee or take a walk or, let’s face it, a deep breath. It’s a hard job and a special one to be a single parent. Learning to see that more and more clearly everyday. And at the same time I see how he is growing up to be his own person and that my job is to protect that and not so much shape it. I have high hopes for him to be a kind, conscientious, open-minded person. So I will do my best to try to hold him in the light of those things until he is on his own someday.
Recently I’ve met several parents of children ages preteen to adult. I’ve really enjoyed their perspective on things. It’s easy to kind of stick with my “cohort” of moms with children right around the same ages – our children are going through very similar stages after all and it can be very helpful to trade notes/ideas/tips. But I recently got to remembering back when I had a babe I could cradle in one arm – and we witnessed our first toddler together. What a wild, wild animal that was. I found it quite alarming. Now, I have that wild child and I’ve had a few interactions with moms and their young babies and I can see the look in their eyes that I had back then. Fear for sure! Denial that my child would misbehave, definintely. I cringe to look back on it. It kind of got me thinking that perhaps at that time I should have soaked up the wisdom of those parents that were a few steps ahead of me. I’m making a new resolution to do so now. And it’s already been so very helpful. This time keeps flying. Just trying to keep a little perspective on that through the hard times and the beautiful times. They are all instantly memories after all.