The other morning when leaving Bootcamp, I heard a woman exclaim how mundane her life had become with making lunches and gathering kids to the bus for school. I remember those days. Frankly, I’m glad they’re over. It’s challenging being a mom and working and shuffling after-school activities, homework, discipline and then you still have to feed these people. It’s exhausting. And then, it seems a few days later, they’re driving cars and shuffling themselves to after-school activities. They’re going to parties and getting part-time jobs. They buy their own lunches and get busy with friends. Pretty soon, she’s going to college or university and taking classes we’ve never heard of and dating people we don’t know. Who owns you?
Then you find yourself sitting at her convocation
and celebrating her achievement (which is really yours, as well) and then she’s
stressed because she has to find a job.
Then you turn around and she’s moved out into her own apartment because she
has actual employment, her own vehicle and a life. And here you are Mommy, with her lunch in
your hand saying, ‘but I made you peanut butter, your favourite.’ She shrugs and says she has her own food and
will see you later. Like next week. When she has the time and is not on
shift. And she needs food for her
The mundane is how you go from ‘Mommy,
I need you’ to ‘Mom, I’ll see you later.’
It’s all the crap you have to endure in order to see that snotty-nosed
kid become an adult. One capable of
making her own lunches and paying her own bills and taking care of somebody else’s
sick baby. But then she comes home and
opens the fridge to see what’s to eat and she wants to watch Arthur’s Perfect
Christmas with you and everything is right with the world, until she has to go
back to work and become an adult and someone else’s caregiver.
You did that, Mommy. Because you made her lunches and you got her
shuffled to the bus and you read her stories at night for the one-hundredth
millionth time and you did it because you knew, someday, it would all be worth
it. I know, right now it’s tiring and
challenging. I know you have no time for
yourself and you wish she would just be a bit more independent, but don’t rush
it. She’ll get there. In her own time.
Hang in there, Mommy. You are doing a great job. Make those damned lunches, take her to the
bus stop and read the bed-time stories. You’ll
blink and you’ll be hanging art in her new apartment and wondering if she has
enough toilet paper for next week.
The mundane stuff is what she
relies on. You are her safety net. Keep going.
I was debating how to start this one, as it’s fraught with euphemisms and ‘life is like a box of chocolate’ kind of sayings. It’s challenging and scary and moving forward is always hard. Children become adults without even blinking and suddenly university is over and moving out is on the horizon. And not just moving across town. Moving across the country. Moving to another province, another time zone, another way of life. Ugh. When did I give birth to adults? This is a lot harder than they told me. I don’t remember anybody saying that moving on would be harder on the parents than the adult-seeming children from whom I wiped snot from their runny noses and caught their vomit in buckets and chauffeured them to dance classes and guitar lessons and Tae Kwon Do sessions and even the occasional hockey-from-hell practices. Christmas presents are no longer dolls or toys or games, but dishes for their new apartments, or new bedding for the new beds or gas cards to get them across the province. We don’t eat supper together every night because one is running to work then class, another is running from class to work and the third one is preparing his four thousand word essay on the bombing of Hiroshima and can I possibly let him eat in his room tonight? Gawd, where did these people come from?
The daughters will be finishing up university in the Spring which has brought discussions of Chapter 3 into the round table. Everybody wants to be supportive, but with applications flying from one end of the country to the other, my nerves are starting to fray. I’ve got one with ambitions of working in Intelligence and one nursing in a warmer climate. I’ve got the other one applying for unis in Ontario and BC and then saying ‘well, you know I have to think about Medical school down the road.’ MEDICAL SCHOOL???!!! WHO ARE YOU?! WHERE’S MY LITTLE BOY WHO SPILLED CHEERIOS ON THE FLOOR AND REFUSED TO SPEAK UNTIL HE WAS THREE AND SANG ‘INAPPROPRIATE’ SONGS TO HIS GRADE ONE TEACHER?!! * As a side, they weren’t really ‘inappropriate’, but when your kid goes to school singing “Save a horse, ride a cowboy” you get a call….
I had a long discussion with co-worker who has been through this with his son and he was very good at allaying my fears. “She’ll be fine. She’ll land on her feet. It will work out.” Okay, I’ll nod and trust you are right.
In the meantime, I’ll be around the house looking at old photos and lamenting the times the children were children and asking for friends to come over to play barbies and making snow forts in the backyard and NOT looking to get as far away from me as possible…