A Stranger At My Breakfast Table
That separation is happening. I knew it would. His life is becoming his own, and I don't figure as prominently in it as I once did. That's the way it's supposed to be and I get that.
So I try to give him space and his independance. I try not to be hurt when he'd rather be with his friends. But sometimes it feels like I'm just a waystation in his life; a place to refuel and recharge.
Yesterday, because both boys had games at the same time, husband and I had to divide and conquer. I ended up taking Pubescent One. In the van, I looked over at my ridiculously large son, noting with some surprise how thoroughly he filled the space next to me.
I realized it had been a while since he had been in my front seat. When it's the two of them, they both ride in the back to quash any arguments over "shotgun".
He looked decidedly alien sitting there. He changes overnight it seems, and almost every day I am greeted by a stranger. One morning an almost man with newly broad shoulders appears at my breakfast table. The next, one with a smattering of fuzz on his upper lip.
It's happening too fast for me to take it all in.
I feel the need to soak up every ounce of him in these last few years before he leaves me. But he needs me to let him try his hand at being an independant adult. It goes against every maternal instinct that I have, not to cling to him with desperate ferocity. But clinging is bad. I know that.
Nurturing while fostering autonomy is a fine line to walk; a veritable tightrope act.
"I've been so caught up in this thing with your brother...I feel like I've neglected you a little bit. What's new that I need to know about?"
"NOTHING? No gossip, no girl stuff, no school drama?"
Silence ensued. I chewed my lip and tried to think of what more to say to my son. He seemed unperturbed by the silence. Boys are not loquacious by nature, I've learned. And sometimes I have to stop myself from interrogating them.
"Okay. Well, I know I've been busy, but you know I'm always here if you need me, right? I'm never too busy to be your Mom."
"Yeah, I know."
He is silent a moment longer, and then he says,
"Thanks for asking though, Mom."
I smiled at him then. He is maturing not only physically, but emotionally as well. He has picked up on my feelings of guilt over the perceived neglect and feels the need to make it better.
When he was just over a year old, I got terribly, terribly sick. I had a deep, barking cough that wracked my entire body. When I would begin to cough, he would crawl into my lap, lay his head upon my shoulder, and pat my back until the spasm passed.
He's a caretaker and always has been. That hasn't changed with his body.
He's going to be such an amazing young man.
P.S. Next week, I'm going to do as suggested and expand upon the issue of parents' rights when things go wrong at school.