As I sit here and text my 15 year old son about how we want to celebrate his sister’s 18th birthday next week, I come to the realization that both my kids have grown up and no longer need me, unless it’s for a ride. They don’t even ask for money anymore. They are tax paying citizens now. When did that happen?
Their father and I divorced 3 years ago, but he and I have a pretty solid relationship considering we call each other “the EX”…… Yes, we don’t always agree on things, but for the most part we get along pretty great, so much so that my daughter thinks it’s weird. Sometimes planning birthdays, vacations or other things gets a little tricky as we still plan as a family, only now we’re two families instead of one. Today and last nights texts were about who, how and where we will be celebrating her 18th. In the span of a 30 minute back and forth texting tango with my son, my mind wandered off and I remembered how when they were little, and all they wanted to do was hang with mom and dad. The excitement of being together on a weekend to pitch a ball or ride a bike has fallen to the way side. I, their own mother have been replaced by a “buddy” or a “bestie”. It’s odd now when we trying planning things as they no longer submit to my schedule, but rather discuss options to best suit their needs and schedules, in a grown up manner, of course. It’s rather comical as the roles have reversed. Now I’m the excited one when we plan activities. I’m giddy with anticipation of all the fun we will have.
I am mom!!! I birthed and raised them, nursed every scrape and scratch. I sat up through vomit spells and bad dreams making it all better. I read every Dr. Suess book over and over again with excitement, not just for them but for me as well. They loved when I acted out the characters.
We pitched indoor tents and had pretend camp fires. Broken hearts were mended as were torn clothes. I watched them sleep, felt their breath on my cheek. We sang songs and recited nursery rhymes countless times changing the words to suit our moods and silly themes. My kids are the greatest gift I’ve ever received and the hardest one to share.
I’m at the point now where I sometimes feel like the family pet that’s left behind when everyone is out having fun. I think most of us have been there. You leave the house and your pet sits at the window watching you drive off. Briefly you look back at the house where your pet sits and pines over you leaving. You’re filled with regret for not bringing it along, but then the excitement of your day surpasses your emotions for it, and you’re no longer thinking about your pet but rather the adventure ahead. This is how I feel at times. The lonely stare as my kids disappear in the distance. Then I run off and forage through the pantry to find something to eat while no one is looking.
I guess that’s life and I’m not the only parent that feels this way. I have embraced old and new hobbies to fill my time, and welcome any and all excitement. It’s great to let them go knowing that I’ve taught them what I could, and I know they value the time we do spend together. I’ve taken a back seat in their lives now and that’s ok. Their life is theirs to live to the fullest and I love watching them do it. I’m just the back seat driver mom now, unless they need a ride somewhere. I’ve accepted that I know the time will come where they fly the coop. I love them with all my heart, but I’ve always maintained that they were never mine to keep.